I admit that I have a collection. As a minimalist, that is frowned upon, but I don’t care! This collection is really near and dear to me. It represents all the places I have lived. An interesting fact about me is that I am 21 years old, and I have had 16 different addresses. Needless to say, my family moves around a lot. New places, neighbors, scenery and schools were a given. But, libraries were always a constant. They were always there.
So my collection? Library cards. I have every library card I have ever had. They mean a lot to me. It represents two things that I love: books and memories of places. I don’t have 16 different library cards because I lived in several different addresses in the same library district, but they each represent a different time period in my life.
I still go to the library. I think I go at least once a week. Especially nowadays since I read so much. And, I have noticed that all the libraries I have gone to have the same theme: renting resources. Libraries are true minimalists. They are a hub of resources that they share freely with the public. And, the resources are not just books. ( tweet this )
Why I Love The Library
Starting with books, these are what automatically comes to mind when someone mentions the word “library.” They have a great thing going on. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a month to read all the books I want, I can check it out from the library for free. It’s really great to return the book when I’m done without it adding to my clutter.
I also like it when a library has a holding system. I love browsing for books on the online catalog and requesting them online even if that book is currently across town at a different library I normally don’t go to. I can request it, and the library ships the books to the branch I want to go to. Talk about service.
Another thing I love about my library is inter-library loans. If my library system doesn’t have a book I want, I can request an inter-library loan. I give a librarian the details of the book I’m after and she’ll contact ALL the libraries in the state that are partnered up and get the book for me. This option sometimes comes with a price, but I haven’t had to pay anything the two times I’ve used it.
One more thing regarding books is that you can often suggest a library to buy a book they don’t have. If they feel, the book is popular enough, they’ll buy it and let you know when they have it in stock.
I don’t use this feature, but many libraries rent out CDs and DVDs. Their selection isn’t as big as their book selection, but a quick browse through shows all the popular TV shows people talk about, so it’s worth checking out.
Libraries partner with online services that usually charge a hefty penny. But, by using it through the library it is free. If you’re researching a topic that doesn’t have sufficient information in books, I suggest seeing what type of databases your library has.
A lot of libraries have private rooms for patrons to go in and read/work away from the main area. It can offer peace and quiet. These rooms are often big enough for several people to occupy, but with an absolute no sounds rule, you won’t even notice the other people.
Libraries also have conference rooms that have to be reserved in advance. And sometimes, they’re limited to businesses and non-profit groups. But, if anyone can reserve a room, it might be worth checking out the next time you have a group project. These rooms come with whiteboards and plenty of tables.
Also, in the main library area, there are PLENTY of quiet spaces and sitting areas. There are some corners that offer super comfy chairs, a section for teens to hang out, private seating by some windows, etc. I love going in, grabbing a seat and enjoying the view. The main area isn’t too loud unless you’re near the kid/teen zone and even then, the noise is minimal.
Many libraries host a number of activities in the library. They teach classes, offer story-time, host book clubs and invite speakers and workshops to teach a skill or share a resource. There are plenty of things to do. I even saw a yoga class on the calendar. Libraries are part of the community and they bring people together. Classes may or may not be free. Most of them require that you sign up in advance.
Wonderful, free WiFi. I often see many people blogging/tweeting/instagramming about working in coffee shops. But, coffee shops are loud and promote spending money on yummy, unhealthy, sugary goodness. I never see people share that they’re working from a library. I wonder why?
Some libraries have equipment you can use. There may be a section of computers that have Adobe products set upon them, they may have digital cameras you can work with and some teen sections have video games. All fun.
And, all the libraries I have been to have computers that the public can use.
Libraries are an amazing place and it’s a shame that people associate them with being boring. I love the library and will continue to use their resources.
What does your library offer?