I’m not sure how it came up at work, but a co-worker and I got on the subject of the library. I love the library. I go all the time, but apparently this is funny. This co-worker laughed at me for getting materials at the library. When I said that sometimes Hubs will stop at the library on his way home to pick up a movie, she laughed even harder. She couldn’t imagine someone stopping at the library.
As an active and proud library patron, I couldn’t imagine life any other way! I haven’t purchased a book for pleasure in years. To be specific, the last books I purchased were the second and third in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. I bought them for my honeymoon because I didn’t want to risk running out of reading material. Before that, I can’t remember the last book I’ve purchased. Thank goodness for that. At the rate I’ve been reading lately, this saves me hundreds of dollars.
Being laughed at for visiting the library got me thinking about why the library is one of my favorite things. As a reminder to you, here are 9 reasons why you should visit a library near you.
1. Free Books
When most people think of the library, they typically think of the books first. Rightfully, so. Do you like to read books? Your library has a ton of them! They even have new releases. You don’t even have to stick to print books. Libraries are carrying more and more e-books for your reading pleasure. Kindle? Check. Nook? Yep, they serve those too. You don’t even need to read the books. You can listen to one of the many audiobooks they have available.
In addition to stacks and stacks of books, your library likely has a plethora of CDs, DVDs, Magazines and eMagazines. Mine does! Depending on your library, the variety and depth of material can be quite robust. For example: Hubs loves heavy metal music. We’ve both been amazed over the last few years how many obscure and recent metal CDs he’s been able to get from the library.
The movie selection can also be quite excellent. Our library has nearly every movie we want to watch. It sometimes falls short with new releases, but come on people. This is the library, not RedBox. If I need to see the most recent movies when they come out on DVD, I’ll wait for a free RedBox code from their text service.
3. Video Games
This one surprised me, so it deserved its own number. Apparently, you can check out video games from the library. My library has games for the Wii, Playstation 2 and XBOX 360.
4. Kid Stuff
Gone are the days of the stuffy libraries with cranky librarians. Today, libraries are kid friendly to promote literacy. The more fun a library can be for kids, the more likely a child will become a life long reader. Therefore, libraries are excellent for children. In addition to the books and media available for children, there are also excellent children’s programs. The library may even have a few play areas to keep the little ones busy while you check out with your materials.
5. Zoo and Museum Passes
Depending on the awesomeness of your library, it may offer zoo and museum passes. I’ve seen this come and go over the years, but it’s still there in some capacity. The hottest ticket at my library has been 2 passes for the zoo. That’s a value of $36! I’ve also seen passes for some of the more off the beaten path museums that I don’t know enough about to pay full price for entry. Consider it a free museum sampler!
Never doubt your library for the services it provides. In addition to book club materials, programming, offering classes, libraries have meeting rooms, research programs and assistance, computer access and WiFi. Some even have law libraries with their own research law librarians. You can have a test administered at your local library or even give blood. They may offer technology help. Did you know that some libraries will deliver materials if you are homebound?
7. Two words: Interlibrary Loan
An interlibrary loan (ILL) is where you can access material not owned by your library. So long as another library owns it, you can get it. I had to use it a lot for my legal research in law school, but it works for civilians as well. The most common ways to request the material is through ILL or Worldcat. Worldcat is the library catalog of over 72,000 libraries in 170 countries. They’ve got you covered.
Also, depending on where you live, your library card may let you check out materials outside your county/province. There are 7 counties in my local area, each with their own library. I visit three of those counties regularly. By checking in with the friendly help desk at one of the library branches within each county, my home library card grants me access to all the branches in that county. Bonus, some systems let your return materials to libraries in different counties so long as they participate in a shared agreement. So if laziness strikes, I don’t have to drive all the way back to my parent’s county to return my book.
8. Technology and (lack of) fees.
In addition to the computer access and WiFi, the technology at the library has greatly improved. Use this to your advantage.
For example: The biggest complaint I’ve read about the library is the fees. 1) You are an adult. Learn to return your materials on time, but 2) Libraries will now send you reminder emails of when items are due. I get an email 3 days before an item is due. I then choose if I want to return the item, or if I can’t or don’t want to, I log into my library website and renew it for another term. In 4 years of extensive use of the library, we’ve paid MAYBE $3 in fines. And that was for movies that charge $1 for each day overdue.
9. You are already paying for it.
Public libraries are just that: Public. They are whole or in part publicly funded. That means your tax dollars are being used to pay for the services your local library provides. By not utilizing the benefits of the library, you are wasting your own tax dollars. Use the resources available to you. Visit your local library today!