Hello, from the circulation desk. We have certainly been busy since we re-opened a few weeks ago and we are so glad to be open and to see our patrons once again. This was a very special for many reasons. This month got to witness Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of color be sworn in as vice-president of the United States and we also celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year we remember the contributions and sacrifice this man made to ensure a brighter future for generations that came after him. We remember the kindness and humility that he showed to all people even to those that did not show him the same, but most of all we remember his call to serve. The Dr. King Holiday for some is just a day off, but in the last few years, the Dr. King Holiday has now become a day of service. A day to help and give back to the community and extend a hand of fellowship.

Dr. King mentioned in his various speeches the importance of compassion and understanding. Dr. King encouraged us to be open to understanding and healing with the intent to eliminate injustice and work for peace. Dr. King encouraged people to work together and use our talents and knowledge and to make our communities stronger. Dr. King believed that words and speeches were a small part of the equation to move in the right direction, but good works and acts of kindness are things that change the hearts of people.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ actions and the actions of other civil rights leaders have passed on the torch to our generation to continue to honor their legacy. Although there has been progress, in today’s world we still have to ask ourselves what, am I doing for others? What am I doing to change my community? What am I doing to spread Dr. King’s message of building bridges, working towards goodwill, and securing equality and justice for all. So many people have experienced hardship within the last several months that giving back to the community and brotherhood is a need more and more each day. Dr. King was an extraordinary man that saw an opportunity to serve his family, his church, and his community.

Many people in our community all over the country have stepped up and found their own way to give back to those that are in need. Everyday citizens are showing up and spreading Dr. King’s message of humility and being of service to their fellow man. Community members all over the country are answering the call to serve. Whether it is volunteering at a food bank, tutoring at a local after school program, or writing Valentine’s Day Cards for local meals on wheels program, showing up to do the work makes a difference in your community.

There are places in the community that make it their mission to be agent of service for all people and I believe libraries are one of those community entities that answer the call to serve every day. Libraries provide access to information, resources, and place where people from different backgrounds can come and participate programs and services that benefit all. Libraries create environments that encourage diversity and social interactions that eliminate fear and build a bridge toward understanding among all. Public libraries help foster of new ideas as and establish environments of learning and open-mindedness. Public libraries continuously contribute to the learning process and create opportunities to bring people together. Libraries are safe havens for some of our most vulnerable community members that are overlooked by the rest of society. The members of society that Dr. King spoke about in his I Have a Dream speech. The same people that he marched with, visited in jail, sat at lunch counters with, and preached to on Sundays. Libraries continue to answer the call to serve and make an imprint on the world.

Dr. King has taught us about daring to be a champion for freedom and justice and that people are deserve to have the right to a life free from fear, discrimination, and inequality. Dr. King changed the world not just with his words but also with his acts. Dr. King had a desire to serve all people and give them hope for a better tomorrow. Next year for Dr. King’s Birthday, we can all follow his example and be of service to someone in the community. Let us make his birthday a day “on” instead of a day off.

Five Ways to Give Back

1. Volunteer at a local food bank

2. Tutor at an after-school program

3. Be a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters

4. Volunteer at a local library

5. Donate clothes to and other essential items to a local homeless shelter

ASHLEY TODD is the Head of Circulation at the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library.

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