Awareness of current events, both locally and internationally, is vitally important to the well-being of society and also on an individual level, and it is part of the mission of the McAllen Public Library, and all public libraries in general, to promote awareness of current events. The McAllen Public Library “is a dynamic civic resource that promotes the open exchange of ideas through free access to information and connects a culturally diverse population with the global community,” (Mission Statement approved by the Library Board in November, 2008). The most effective way of being connected to the global community and the local community is by following the news. It is one of the roles of public libraries to make this information, the news, free and accessible. That is why we have free Wi-Fi at the library, a very large computer lab, a wide selection of newspapers and magazines both in print and digital, and a digital newsstand on our eBranch page. The “exchange of ideas” is what causes societies to grow and progress, and in order to accomplish this exchange you need to be connected. And in order to be connected, you need to care about current events and follow the news. We have a lot to be proud of in the Rio Grande Valley and we are capable of great things, and taking on a larger role on the national and international stage means following and caring about what is going on in the world around us.
Awareness of current events is also important on an individual level for many reasons. Things happening in the news can, and do, affect you directly. The recent midterm elections are an example of that. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, everyone is affected by the outcome of elections, and you owe it to yourself and the public to make an informed decision when you vote. And in order to make an informed decision, you have to follow the news and know what the issues are. Being well-informed also just makes you a more interesting person, able to converse more confidently with more people, and have a greater context for understanding the world around you. Following the news is the best way to continue your education and make a commitment to lifelong learning. The McAllen Public Library is glad to help make this possible.