Valley libraries; more than just books

FRESNO, Calif.

For Clovis resident Robert Watts the neighborhood library was a safe haven, but also a place of awakening.

Watts said, "I got to see other kids do show and tell. The librarian would give you a chance to practice reading in front of the group. That kind of thing is painful but I realized I couldn't do those things."

Today Watts has a doctorate in Psychology and is a successful author and motivational speaker. He credits the local librarian with caring about his illiteracy and encouraging him to read.

Fresno's April Haupt found a much needed social outlet at the library. Once a week she and her son eddy attended a playgroup where she could find some much needed adult conversation.

Haupt said, "As a stay at home mom you start to feel very isolated especially when you go from being a working person to a stay at home mom. You no longer have the same interactions as you may have had before and it can get very lonely."

Those on a hunt for a job can sign up for computer time. Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysianzny says every branch has computers, CD's DVD's and even video games.

"We also offer literacy classes, and one on one tutoring, we offer job skill training, we'll teach you how to prepare for that interview, how to dress, what questions to expect, how to write a resume," Prysianzny said.

For those who are already technically savvy you can ask your reference questions through email or you can even text your question in. It won't be long before they have a 24/7 live chat service.

While many have criticized the library for allowing the homeless to hang out, Prysianzny says everyone is welcome. It's a community cornerstone she says, for every age and every social group.

Best of all, everything is free

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