“Why do we need libraries? We have Google.”

If you haven’t said it yourself, you’ve probably heard it or read it somewhere. The information age brings us the world with just a click. We are more connected than ever before; yet, there is still an atmosphere of discontent. Virtual communication simply cannot replace the authenticity of real relationship.

In this era of advanced technology, the library offers something infinitely more valuable: the opportunity to engage and connect with self and others apart from a screen.

Built on values of equal access and sharing, the library has long been the center for information, art and culture. It provides the community an opportunity to transcend the disconnect by offering an array of interests, ample space and other people with whom to explore, learn and create. When we find common ground, it’s more than a craft, class or discussion. It’s the building of bonds, the creation of a strong community.

Jean McCarthy is the Crestview Public Library's administrative assistant.