As anyone who works in a library can tell you, this is a very fulfilling career path. Just the same as with other service-oriented fields, we have hearts to serve and find meaning in helping others. And, too, as staff and patrons alike can attest, there are many different aspects to working in a library, ranging from children’s programming to the technical work of preparing new items for their first checkouts.

Then there is weeding, or removing outdated materials and other things people haven’t checked out in a very long time from the collection, so the “flowers” or relevant items people do want in your library’s garden of knowledge can bloom all the prettier. The opposite of weeding is purchasing new items. Both of these tasks fall under the umbrella of maintaining the collection.

I’ve heard public libraries referred to as “the people’s universities” and “cathedrals of the mind.” I consider those designations as responsibilities worthy of upholding. As institutions providing free and equitable access to all kinds of information, materials, services and resources, public libraries are places where anyone and everyone can continue or supplement their education, or pursue a path of lifelong learning.

I’ve known people who didn’t choose the path of traditional secondary education and still found great success through their own determined efforts – and those involved a lot of reading and other self-enrichment activities. I think of them and also of upholding those previously mentioned designations when maintaining the collection.

Besides access to seven libraries in five counties (Highlands, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee and Okeechobee) included in your free library membership, it also affords you reciprocal borrowing privileges with other libraries and institutions in multiple different ways. For one, if you take your library card to South Florida State College’s main library campus in Avon Park, you are able to get a card through them, too. For another, if you commute or otherwise find yourself visiting a library near or around Tampa or in Polk County or southwest Florida, chances are good you can obtain a membership there, too. Just come in and get your Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC) or Southwest Florida Library Network (SWFLN) sticker before visiting the other library.

If you want to borrow an obscure academic text for your research project that we for sure won’t have, don’t worry. Your library partners with all kinds of public and academic libraries across Florida to provide for your needs. After checking our catalog to be triple sure it isn’t with us, simply visit our website at then click on Resources, followed by Interlibrary Loans, and finally FLIN SHAREit to make your request.

Also on our website, you can access over 500 free online classes via Universal Class and for those studying for their SATs, GEDs, GREs, NCLEXs, or other exams please check out Mometrix. Just click on Resources, followed by Learning for either of those. You’ll also find a link to the Florida Electronic Library in the same place. This is a collection of academic and other databases and resources for all Floridians, no library membership required. For the others you’ll just need your library barcode (no spaces) and pin/password to login.

Contact us if you have any questions at 863-699-3705. You can follow us on Facebook at the Highlands County Board of Commissioners page too, where you’ll find the latest information on book club, author, and other events.

Whether you are supplementing your education, taking the path less tread, or learning for fun, your library is here to help. It’s what we do and we love our jobs. So come in and let us be your guides to all this bounty because no matter who you are or where you’re at in life, the people’s university has its doors wide open to admit you.

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