I’m constantly hearing people say they don’t have time to use a library or it’s easier to just buy a book you want to read.
Here are a few things most people don’t realize about public libraries:
1: It’s free. Yes, you probably knew this part. Did you know that it’s not just books for free? Most libraries have books on C.D., movies (even new releases) magazines, and even Kindles.
2: With my library I have the option of going online and actually borrowing FOR FREE e-books to load directly onto my kindle to read. Many libraries have this available. Your library staff are more than willing to help you set this up. Bonus: you can browse e-books and borrow them FROM HOME.
3: Online catalogs. Gone are the days of perusing giant wooden card catalogs and hoping the item is on the shelf once you track down the call number. This is done on a computer now. You can look items up on the catalog only computers in the library and usually you can look items up on your library’s website from home. There’s several benefits to doing this. You can see right away if it is actually AT your library branch. If your library is one branch of a library system you can actually “order” your item from another library and it will be sent to your branch. Some libraries will even order the item from outside their system. If there’s a book in a series you want to read and it’s not at your library just ask. They can probably get it for you! Another benefit of doing this online is the time saving aspect. If you place a hold on an item at your library a library staff member will find the item on the shelf or order it from another library and then contact you when it’s available to pick up, either by calling, texting or emailing. Go in, give them your library card, check out your item and *poof* you’re done! Easy peasy!
4: Computers! Almost every thing you do these days requires you to have an email contact but sadly not everyone can afford a computer. Filling out job applications, quick filing your taxes, even using a kindle to read on all require you to have Internet access. You can do this for free at your library. I have yet to see a public library not have computers for their patrons to use. Clueless about computers? No problem! Ask a library associate! That’s what they are there for! Some libraries even offer free classes on basic computer use if you wish to be a little more comfortable with them.
4. Entertainment! Don’t have the money to go out and buy your favorite movie or see the latest sequel to your comic book hero movie series? Don’t want to spend $15 on a new CD when you only know for sure you like one song? Go to the library! You may have to wait your turn to borrow it but you can borrow it for free. I put myself on the hold list for brand new releases all the time. When it’s my turn to get the new CD or the new movie my librarian sends me an email and I go pick it up. And unlike the $4 movie rental place that gives you 24 hours I get a full week to watch it. Some libraries give you 3 days, 10 days or 2 weeks. Ask your library staff or check your check out receipt for the due date to be sure.
5: Magazines. How many of us have magazine subscriptions that pile up because we don’t have the time to read them? Why are you paying for something you eventually realize you’re never going to have time to read and will just throw away? Go sit in your quiet library in one if their comfy seats, most have MANY, and peruse the magazine you wanted to read. Read the articles you want and don’t feel guilty about the ones you skip because you paid to read them. Many libraries even let you check out the magazines for a short period. See a recipe you want to make? Take it home and make the item! If it’s good write it down! Save a tree and your guilt for spending money and throwing it away.
6: Starting early getting your kids excited about library visits, reading “marathons,” summer reading programs, etc will begin creating a reader. The more your children read the better off they will be later on, not just in school but also jobs. Reading opens up new worlds, imaginations and, most importantly, encourages thinking. Take kids to the library. Read to them and with them. It can improve your own reading skills as well and creates great memories for your kids.
Libraries are publicly funded. If we don’t use these great resources we will lose them. Go get a library card today if you don’t have one. Check your local library branch for what ID is needed to get one and for what their hours are. Many offer extended and weekend hours for 9-5 workers and busy moms.
If you do use your library then I thank you! Make sure you thank a librarian next time you’re there!
Lots of love and happy reading,
When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.
–Rita Mae Brown