GPL Blog

From the Director’s Desk — October 2021

Each month, Library Director Noelle Thompson will give an update on what’s happening at the library. Check here for updates on the new building, exciting news, and more!

The Register-Mail recently asked me about common library myths.  My answer is included below along with other common misconceptions.

Myth: Libraries are silent, somber places.

Fact: Libraries are places of learning. Sometimes learning does require quiet environments so students can read, research, and study without disruption. Other times, learning is loud. We learn through play, through conversation, and through collaboration. The new building will have study rooms for students to read undisturbed and spaces for exploration, celebration, and discourse.

Myth: With everything online, there is no need for a physical library.

Fact: Technology is not a threat to libraries but is another tool for us to share information and serve our communities. Much of the new building is designed to introduce new technologies, train users on devices, and connect people via virtual learning. Our conference spaces will enable remote workers to engage with their colleagues, online students to attend classes, patients to attend virtual doctor visits, and friends to stay in touch from a distance.

Despite all of the opportunities that have been developed to accomplish tasks virtually, technology has not replaced the need for a shared space. That is why we buy tickets to the concert, travel to family reunions, or tailgate outside of the stadium. We create physical spaces that serve our needs.  The new library building will integrate both physical and virtual spaces to increase access, remain flexible, and provide equitable service to our whole community.

Myth: Libraries exist to provide books.

Fact: Libraries are centers of information for communities. Books in print are one of the most valuable resources we have to share stories and provide education, and we believe everyone should have access to the books they want to read. E-books, audiobooks, movies, and music are other great resources for storytelling and information sharing, and each of those is available with a library card. People also exchange information through conversation, which is why we host book clubs, movie clubs, discussion groups, guest speakers, and other programs that facilitate deliberation and debate. The Galesburg Public Library also provides public computers, puzzles, toys, learning kits, and other resources that nurture learning and discovery. We believe literacy is at the foundation of education, opportunity, and growth, and we work hard to promote literacy through all that we do.

Myth: No one uses the library anymore.

Fact: GPL is busy! 400-500 items are checked out each day, including dozens from our holds pickup (formally curbside, now in the south hallway). We’ve also developed new ways to serve our community members who are not able to visit the library. We have added more databases and e-books, increased home delivery and outreach, and offer reference assistance by phone, email, and messenger regularly. Library staff answer 90-100 reference questions each day!

For more information about the Galesburg Public Library, visit us on November 3rd, 9am to 6pm, for our 60th Anniversary Open House. A presentation on the new building is scheduled for 2pm.

To stay up-to-date on new building developments, visit the GPL Foundation website,, or like the Galesburg Public Library Foundation on Facebook.