Cole: Libraries Lend Knowledge, Create Connection Amidst Digital Revolution


Zoie Cole

The Woodbury Public Library boasts a variety of creative displays. The most recent addition of decorations revolve around the upcoming, safari-themed Summer Reading Program.

Zoie Cole, Assistant Features Editor

WOODBURY — In the age of information, as well as an increasingly digital world, libraries remain the steadfast heart of countless global communities. With resources ranging anywhere between free internet access, Christmas cookbooks in July, and every single iteration of the Star Trek franchise, it’s impossible to summarize the value of a library in anything less than an essay.

The Woodbury Public Library is nestled into the bustling center of Woodbury, Connecticut, where it quietly weaves business, art, information, and creativity into a single thread. 

Under the careful observation of Fred the Library Cat’s towering statue, the WPL serves as the junction point of life in the small Connecticut town. Though the endless shelves of books in every shape, size, and color are often the first thing visitors notice, they’re far from the space’s only occupants.

Like the WPL, the Nonnewaug Library Media Center is another place where creativity thrives, and shows throughout colorful displays. Above all, the LMC encourages students and staff alike to think big, and “fly” as far as they can. (Zoie Cole)

The Library of Things is a recently introduced addition to the WPL’s ever-expanding collection. Offering a week-long checkout of items such as Ukuleles, Kalimbas, an Atari, and more, the Library of Things serves as a reminder that the library is more than just a center for free reading: it’s a place to find new experiences, explore the world from home, and build memories in surprising ways. 

“Everyone [at the library] is so nice,” said Megi Gorka, a Nonnewaug senior. “The people you meet are so welcoming and helpful, and they make sure you get what you need at the end of the day to fit your needs or interests.”

The same goes for libraries across the country, including those within educational institutions like Nonnewaug High School. This year, the two libraries have only strengthened their connection through art displays featuring Nonnewaug seniors, programs involving NHS’ Team Beta robotics team, and even the distribution of library cards to every Nonnewaug freshman.

“You can find so many opportunities at the library for zero cost,” Gorka said. “Programs for adults, kids, museum passes—you really can’t find all of that anywhere else.”

Local life and culture plays a large role in the development of the library’s offerings, inspiring programs, events, and exhibits in the building’s art gallery. While the Woodbury Public Library hosts events like ice fishing classes, recyclable craft tutorials, and informational sessions about local insects, the NHS library is home to countless extracurricular events. 

Whether the Student Council needs a place to host a karaoke night, or the track and field team needs a place to discuss recent meet statistics, Nonnewaug’s Library Media Center is often the perfect place.

“The library should really be a learning commons, especially in a school,” said Deborah Flaherty, Nonnewaug’s library media specialist. “We have books, but we also have a makerspace and board games. The library is a hub, and because of that, I’ve gotten to know so many kids in so many different ways.”

The library might sound like a simple place—a place where books are stored, and old textbooks gather dust—but in truth, libraries are anything but that; the library is a place where life and connection thrive, and almost any information is at the visitor’s fingertips.

“We live in a time where technology is embedded in our lives,” Flaherty said. “But even then, it’s important to have not only a place to come together, but people who know how to use this developing technology.

Looking for the newest Colleen Hoover book? The library has you covered.

Need to find some last-minute research for a school project from a book that hasn’t seen the light of day since 1997? The library has you covered for that, too.

Bored on a hot summer day, and looking for something to do? Check out the WPL’s Summer Reading program—and the air conditioned building while you browse for your next best read.

Trying to print something, and your home computer just won’t cooperate? There might be some fighting with the printer, but the library can help with that, too.

Searching for the perfect secondhand furniture seller to replace the old couch in your living room? Unique request, but the library can probably find a number for you to call.

“You can make so many great connections at the library,” said Gorka. “You can meet new people, learn new things, and then leave feeling so much closer to your community.”

Or, if you’re simply looking for a quiet place to do a puzzle, the library would be happy to have you for that, too.

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate assistant features editor Zoie Cole, Nonnewaug Class of 2023.