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Geek the library


By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  Last week I mentioned that April kicks off our new library awareness campaign, Geek the Library. I know what you’re thinking: isn’t geek a bad thing? In a galaxy far, far away (in other words, when I was young), “geek” was a noun, a mildly insulting term for one who was obsessed with something perceived as nerdy or bookish by the cool kids.

  However, in an excellent example of the way language evolves, the meaning began to change as so-called geeks began to embrace the name. They (OK, we) began to self-identify, and to call themselves computer geeks, science fiction geeks, music geeks, and the like. Today you can even call on a squad of professional geeks to repair your computer. Nothing takes the sting out of a derogatory name like adopting it as your own.

  Now the meaning has shifted again, and the word has entered common usage as a verb. The new meaning is related to the old one, though, and now to geek something means to be passionate about it. People speak of geeking movies, or dance, or science. Whatever you have a singular passion for is what you geek, which brings us to Geek the Library.

  Geek the Library is a community-based public awareness campaign designed to highlight the vital role of public libraries in today’s challenging environment and raise awareness about the critical funding issues public libraries face.

  The public library’s role in building strong communities is more important than ever, especially in a tough economy. But as library usage increases, and the pressure to expand services intensifies, many libraries simply don’t have the necessary funding to support the new demand. At the same time, most are experiencing flat or decreasing budgets.

  More Americans than ever before are turning to local libraries for entertainment, for educational opportunities and to search for jobs. Millions of Americans rely on the public library for their only source of Internet access, to apply for jobs, to continue their education, to learn more about their passions and to communicate with family, but most public libraries regularly report that they don’t have enough computers or fast enough Internet connections to keep up with demand.

  Although millions of Americans enjoy public library resources, and understand the transformational role libraries play for individuals and communities, most people don’t know if their local library is adequately funded.

  Funding for libraries in Henry County comes from federal, state and local tax revenue, but the majority of our funding is from local sources.  This means that you, the residents, taxpayers and voters of Henry County, have an influential role in how well your library is supported. The campaign is designed to help build public awareness that libraries need community support and adequate funding in order to remain strong.

  So, what do you geek? Music, art, gardening, fishing, cooking, horses…? Whatever you geek, your public library is here to support you. And libraries need your support now, more than ever. To find out how you can get involved, visit your nearest Henry County public library or go to, where you can take a quiz and sign up for email updates.



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