Phoenix libraries serve as community connectors
Libraries are often portrayed with a librarian sitting at a desk, and a “silence is golden” sign shushing people to be quiet. While this image may seem familiar to many, public libraries have outgrown their old stereotypes by offering community resources for people to connect and learn.
“We offer space so that community members can come to gather,” said Lee Franklin, Community Relations Manager at the Phoenix Public Library
Franklin explains that the purpose of libraries is more than just about books. Libraries also are about being a place for the community to connect, learn and grow.
Franklin said, “At the heart of a public library that is what we are all about, making sure we are a great equalizer.”
Libraries have become community gathering places where you can form study groups, relax, or see what is happening in your local community. Now that most jobs require you to apply online and schools have switched to online research, libraries’ free access to the internet is imperative for people without internet at home.
Rebecca Hinton, a frequent visitor of the library, explains that she takes advantage of their free Wi-Fi, study rooms and online digital book selection.
“I use the libraries to host meetings for the various groups I am involved with,” Hinton.
All Phoenix residents can access the library and sign up for a library card at any of the 17 locations. Burton Barr located in downtown Phoenix serves as the main branch offering several programs for people of all ages. The programs include college readiness, grant writing professional development and much more.
Burton Barr’s College Depot is a free, full-service college access center with a team of college planning advisers and assistants. It offers one on one appointments and workshops. Workshops provided help to prepare for admissions, financial aid, and scholarships. Also, the depot provides GED help, advising on career placement, apprenticeships and more.
Hive @ Central
For people looking for help with small business and nonprofit issues, the Hive @ Central offers a mentorship program. The mentorship program can be accessed at other Phoenix Public Library branches as well. Located at the Burton Barr branch, the Hive @ Central is held in the main resource room. Seminars are also offered as part of the program that includes Copywriting 101 and How to Write a Grant. These workshops lend business specific books and have staff members available to help provide guidance on relevant programs and resources.
Teen Central and Children’s Place
Most library branches have their own versions of teenage and child only sections. Burton Barr has Teen Central and Children’s Place.
Teen Central is a teen-only (ages 12 to 18) section of the 4th floor. They do card, so you don’t have to worry and are supervised by a library employee. Here teens gain access to free video games, movies on the big screen, study areas, the internet to do homework and workshops that range from slam poetry to web design. To learn more click here.
Children’s Place is a younger children’s section where they hold story time, educational computer games, and children-centric furniture and art.
Throughout Phoenix Public Library branch locations they hold programs like Kids Cafe, Preschool Prep, and Sit Stay Read. To learn click here.
Other Programs or Services worth mentioning
The Seed Library– All library branches offer the Seed Library where you “check out” seeds that thrive in the southwest to start your own garden.
Legal Guidance — services especially for those who have been incarcerated to help with the restoration of civil rights and re-entry into the community.
Workforce Assistance — Ocotillo branch holds the workforce literacy service. Burton Barr branch has resources to help with interview prep, resume building and another workforce related help.
For more information on what services your local branch has visit here.