Don’t let anyone tell you that libraries are passé. They are not. In our communities they are thriving centers for community connection and learning.

Locally our libraries and library staff are collaborating on community events such as Muslim Girls Making Change – which is taking place at the Valley Players Theater as The Valley Reporter goes to press on March 29.

They are collaborating on joint communitywide reading projects such as Brown Girl Dreaming which has provided 45 copies of Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson to readers in Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren. The book will be the subject of multiple programs throughout The Valley this spring.

Individually they are holding events such as a cookbook potluck (Joslin Memorial in Waitsfield) and weekly instructional sessions to learn how to use Listen Up Vermont, the state’s digital book library (Moretown Library), and the Warren Library is awaiting the arrival of a 3D printer that will allow makers and creators to craft their own prototypes.

The libraries offer vibrant programming for children and adults, offering weekly talks, summer reading programs and more. Our libraries offer access to computers, iPads and the internet along with staff who can help people learn to use those tools.

Our library staff and directors are successfully bringing these facilities into the digital era. Libraries are more than repositories for books (which remains one of the best things about libraries – unlimited books to read for free). They are changing with changing times and keeping themselves not just relevant but vibrant.

We are lucky in our community to have three such excellent and collaborative libraries. We are fortunate – up until recently – to live in a country that recognizes the value of libraries and what they represent – people’s access to knowledge, connection and community.

It remains to be seen what will happen with President Trump’s proposed budget – which completely eliminates federal funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which helps fund state library associations, which in turn support local libraries and programming.

Here’s hoping saner heads will prevail on the federal budget or at least heads that read books.