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story.lead_photo.caption Connie Brian poses for a portrait Thursday next to her edible book contest entry, "Lots of Dots" by Craig Frazier at Texarkana College's Palmer Memorial Library in Texarkana, Texas. The Edible Book festival is part of National Library week that promotes and supports local libraries throughout the nation. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

Libraries serve as a temple of information.

"I have loved libraries since I was in high school," said Vivian Osborne, with library services at Texarkana College.

"I served in our library club all four years of high school, even holding some offices. Libraries still play one of the most important roles in my life. I have worked in a library for almost 20 years now. With today's technology, we have eBooks you can read on your computer also audible books that can be listened to on your phone, computer or CDs. I always prefer to have a book in hand but I also enjoy audible books," Osborne said.

"At night, when I go to bed, I listen to books that take me on adventures and get your mind off the stresses in life. I wish those who don't read knew the excitement of love, travel, mysteries and even major events or people that have been a vital part of our country. There are books on every subject a person might be interested. Books can push your worries back and give you time to relax and get away. If you want to travel but can't afford it, pick up a book about the place and travel in your mind. If you're a college student, use your library. Teach your children how important books are to give them a life time of learning. Your public library is available. One thing that can never be taken away from us is what we have learned," she said.

"Grab a book and let the adventures begin," Osborne said while honoring the National Library Week.

'The library is the temple of learning and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history," said Carl Rowan, an American journalist.

The information highway in Texarkana is directed by Jennifer Strayhorn, who serves as the librarian for the Texarkana Public Library.

"We have programs to help customers learn information. The tutor programs can teach students subjects from math to English," Strayhorn said.

"Are physical libraries still needed in this digital age, when everything is available on the internet?" asked Teri Stover, Moss Library director at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

"I say yes, but I am just a little biased. Libraries organize information; teach how to find trustworthy sources and reliable facts. They provide quiet places to study or areas for social discussions; provide access to computers and the internet for individuals who do not have it. It's a place to research or unwind.

"The library is so much more than a physical place to store print books and magazines. Besides books, the John F. Moss Library loans items such as media equipment, project boxes, chargers, etc. We hold book discussions; have popup maker spaces and escape rooms, art shows and serve coffee during finals. Libraries strive to offer the amenities their communities want or need," Stover said.

"National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for 2019 National Library Week is "Libraries = Strong Communities," and Gates Foundation Co-founder Melinda Gates will serve as 2019 National Library Week Honorary chairwoman.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association and observed in libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.

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