Did you forget about your libraries? Because I did. After spending hours roaming the stacks of the Alden Library at Ohio University, I just forgot. I ran out into the world, bought a Kindle, looked up factoids on Wikipedia, and bought books for pennies on Amazon. I’ve been able to afford a computer and internet access since my college days. I didn’t really think the library had anything to offer me. Surely, I could find anything I needed just by Googling it!
But libraries are literally everywhere. (Justin Grimes, a statistician from the Institute of Museum and Library Services created a map of all the individual libraries and museums in the United States. Read more about it on Every Library and Museum in America, mapped by Emily Badger.)
Nevertheless, even if you own all the books you’ll ever need and you have internet access, the library is still a place to seek out.
Library are places to learn from your community.
A good library will have programs and services that meet the needs of its community. Right now, you can find help for tax preparation, play groups for parents of young children, crafts for all ages, and venues to meet and connect with people in your neighborhood.
Digital resources are available.
Apps like Overdrive and Hoopla allow you to download books, audio books, and videos to use on your mobile devices for free. All you need is a library card.
Find anything via inter-library loan.
There are more books available than you realize. Most libraries belong to a consortium, and books can be requested from other libraries. So even if your neighborhood library is small, you can probably get what you need.
And let’s not forget that you’ve already paid for it.
Your taxes go to support your local library, meaning you might as well take advantage of it.
So go find your nearest library and get a card. If you’re spending your days tending to a brood of offspring, seek out your peers by going to a “Baby and Me” class. And while you’re at it, grab something to read or download a free e-book from your library’s electronic resources. Remember, reading is fundamental!
If you happen to be in my neck of the woods, come visit me at the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library where I help patrons find books, sing songs to toddlers, and create crafts with teens. While you’re at it, get a library card!
Image via the Library of Congress here