Dan Aldridge is Georgia Public Library Champion of the Year. He is the current president of the statewide network, Friends of Georgia Libraries.
Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS): What do you enjoy most about your work building support for libraries through FOGL?
Dan Aldridge (DA): I love traveling around the state and having the opportunity to meet so many extraordinary volunteers in friends of the library groups. I’m always amazed at the talent and creativity that these individuals display in support of their local library. Their enthusiasm is an inspiration to all.
GPLS: What is the biggest challenge faced by friends of library groups?
DA: The biggest challenge that friends groups face is to attract young adults to join and volunteer with them. The participation by young adults will determine the future of our friends groups in Georgia. FOGL encourages friends groups to keep reaching out to young adults in their community to educate and explain the vital role that a library plays in their community and the need the library has for volunteer support. By volunteering, people can help the library achieve its mission of improving the lives of everyone in the community.
GPLS: How do libraries impact lives and communities?
DA: Libraries play a vital role. No other organization has the influence that a library does in being able to reach out and impact virtually every age, race and economic group; it is singularly situated to be able to improve the lives of every community member. Learning is a lifelong endeavor, and libraries are vital to that learning process. At the heart of every thriving community, you will find a strong, impactful library.
GPLS: What is the biggest misconception that people have about libraries?
DA: The biggest misconception that some people have about libraries is that they are nothing more than a repository for books. In virtually every situation where I have encountered someone expressing this misconception, it has come from an individual who has not been in a library for years. Those individuals simply have not kept up with all the services, programs and opportunities that a library has to offer. Today’s libraries are having tremendous impact improving the lives of Georgians.
More Q & As with our Library Awards winners