Director says Milford library welcomes you, doesn’t ‘shush’ you

To the Editor:
It is with mixed feelings that I noted Doug Smith’s editorial cartoon in the April 24th issue concerning the Little Libraries project spearheaded by the Friends of the Milford Library.
While I applaud the publicity for this wonderful project, I cannot applaud the promotion of the stereotypical bun-wearing, shushing librarian. I wonder when Mr. Smith last visited his public library. If he were to visit the Milford Public Library this past month, he would have seen our adult users taking advantage of classes on digital literacy skills, workshops on career and financial counseling, genealogy instruction, gardening programs and yes, the traditional book discussion groups.
Our younger users expanded their STEM skills with LEGO and math programs, stretched their creative writing skills and were exposed to early literacy instruction. All organized and/or presented by Milford’s own library staff. The role of the librarian is not to guard shelves of books but to connect people with the information and resources they need to be educated, informed and entertained. A difficult task if one is busy shushing our users.
This stereotype has been a hard one for librarians to overcome. When I tell non-library users about the variety of programs we offer and the services available they are amazed. The public perception of libraries being out of touch repositories of books affects how we are funded and how we are included in the general conversations concerning social enrichment and community development and services. Towards that end, we must change this perception. I cordially invite Mr. Smith to visit the Milford Library; I expect he might be surprised at what he finds.
Christine Angeli
Director, Milford Public Library