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Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 4.23.09




Here For You

Your library is a remarkable resource

by Connie J. Bennett

As the saying goes, “Libraries will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through times with no libraries” (Anne Herbert).

During this economic downturn, many national news stories have reported on the upsurge in use of public libraries. Relatedly, libraries are cited as models of sustainable resource-sharing. In fact, the Sierra Club has named The Library Book as one of “Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet: Everyday Things to Help Solve Global Warming.” (The others are The Clothesline, The Bicycle, The Ceiling Fan, The Microchip, The Condom and The Real Tomato. Impressive company!)

Fortunately, Eugeneans are famously supportive of Eugene Public Library (EPL). So in honor of National Library Week (April 13-17), we knew you’d appreciate learning about these small, everyday ways you can help your library continue to help you — and your neighbors — while making the best use of every taxpayer penny. 

Get online. Log into your library card account 24/7 to check due dates, renew loans and pay fines and fees by credit card. Find EPL online at

www.eugene-or.gov/library

Hold it. EPL handles about 10,000 requests weekly (that’s not a typo). When you’re coming up on a week with too much to read, too much to do or out of town plans, log into your account and “suspend” some of your hold requests. Your name will continue to climb the list, but the requests won’t be filled until you “reactivate” them.

Look within. Before you check out or return audiobooks, CDs and DVDs, open the case to make sure all items are in there — and that they belong to EPL, not to your video store, sister or school.

Take care. Hold DVDs and CDs by their sides. Close books when you’re not reading them.

Be an outsider. The return slots outside the building are faster — use them to save your time and staff time. Place items on the belt one at a time.

Speak up. Tell us if you find something wrong: an audiobook with one CD missing, a book with coffee stains, a DVD that skips. It takes the whole community’s eyes and ears to keep our shared resources in good condition. 

Keep the peace. Lower your voice, especially on cell phones. Many people look to the library for quiet respite, now more than ever.

Bring the books. If a relative, friend or neighbor can’t visit EPL due to health issues, she or he can name you to borrow and deliver. Ask for more info at Cards & Accounts.

Volunteer. Keep books in order, help people use computers and more. Most positions are two hours weekly with a six-month commitment; minimum age 14. 

Ask anytime. For more information about these tips, please ask in person or by phone: 682-5450. Of course, visit or call whenever you need information about anything. We’re your library. And we’re here for you.

Connie J. Bennett is director of the Eugene Public Library.