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Libraries looking for a little extra love

February is National Library Lover's Month and Newswatch 16 checked out how one spot in Lackawanna County is doing.

BLAKELY, Pa. — Among the seemingly endless stacks and shelves of books at the Valley Community Library in Blakely, there are people. People who love working at this library and want you to love it, too.

"I love meeting new people here and introducing them to new book series," Kristen Wallo said.

"I've been coming to the library forever. I brought my kids here. I got involved and found community in the library," said Fawn Contreras, the library's Youth Services Clerk. 

For Contreras, her love for the library goes beyond books.

"I loved the library as a free resource because I am someone that I've been homeless in the past, and the library's always been important to me because of that."

"It's just so important to level the socioeconomic playing field, really. It's a way for children and adults to learn more things for free," said Amber Wendolowski, president of the Friends of the Valley Community Library, which helps with fundraising. 

The library lost a lot of foot traffic and fundraising during the last two years. But readers are starting to come back - many, for the nostalgia.

"We have a lot of people come in, they're looking for the card catalog, which unfortunately we don't have anymore. Everything is online, but yeah, we do have a lot of people coming in, and they just want to get their hands on books. It's a really great feeling to be able to give them a tour and show them around," Michelle Georgetti said.

There's definitely something special about holding a physical book in your hands, but we live in a digital world, and this library is adapting to that.

"We have lots of e-resources available through our website, including Canopy, where you can stream over 30,000 films and documentaries," Wallo said. "We have access to Libby by Overdrive, where you can download ebooks and e-audio books."

Libraries are no longer just book lenders. They're becoming unofficial community centers. The Valley Community Library offers a variety of programs like yoga, book clubs, chess, and sewing classes. 

To stay up to date on the library's events and programs, click here.

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