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Wichita joins national ‘Geek the Library’ campaign

The Wichita Public Library wants you to get your geek on.

It’s all part of “Geek the Library,” a national initiative to boost support and increase funding for public libraries, with a fun twist: asking people to make the library personal by telling the world about their passions.

Starting Thursday, the Wichita Public Library will ask area residents to submit their “geeks” to help promote the local campaign, which launches in early June.

You can “geek” movies. You can “geek” gardening, music or afternoon walks – anything you are interested in.

“Everyone is passionate about something,” said Gail Fisher, president of Friends of the Wichita Public Library, a volunteer organization providing services, support and advocacy to the city’s public libraries. It is sponsoring the local campaign.

As a noun-turned-verb, “geek” means to have an intense interest in something, she explained.

“We hope to make people realize that the library is where you can come if you have those passions.”

Fisher said she hopes the campaign draws attention to the public library’s vital role in many Wichitans’ lives. In recent years, libraries across the country have faced funding cuts, Fisher said, while usage numbers are on the rise.

“Funding has been a concern,” she said.

The campaign “helps people try to see how relevant the library is at this time.”

Libraries aren’t just stacks of dusty books and stern librarians anymore, Fisher added. They’re full of DVDs, CDs, audio books, computers and access to information stored in thousands of facilities nationwide.

“The library is the great equalizer,” said Fisher, whose personal “geek” is empowering people. “… If you have access to the library, it makes it fair. And that’s critical right now.”

Anyone can submit their photo and personal “geek” for use in the campaign. For details, call the Wichita Public Library at 316-261-8500 or e-mail friendswpl2012@gmail.com. Submissions may be used in videos and on posters featured in local public libraries and around Wichita.

More information about the “Geek the Library” national initiative is available at www.geekthelibrary.org. For news on the local program, visit Friends of the Wichita Public Library on Facebook.

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