As I’ve used our library system more and more, I’ve realized that it offers a lot for community members. We can check out books, of course, but lending books is just one of the services it provides.
I recently learned that many libraries celebrate a “love your library” week or month during February to coincide with Valentine’s Day. There is a lot to love about libraries! Here are just a few of the reasons my family loves ours.
Reasons to love your library
- You can read books, magazines, and newspapers without having to purchase them. The most well-known function of libraries is lending books and other reading materials. This is the function I appreciate the most. Because it doesn’t cost anything, I can check out lots of books on lots of topics. If I don’t like one, I simply return it and get another. This is especially useful with my kiddos. We get several books each week so the books are always “new” to them! Moreover, I’d never be able to purchase books on every topic about which I’d like them to read (shapes, colors, numbers, letters, animals, etc.), but we can read books about all of these from the library.
- You can access a large variety of resources other than books. At most libraries, books are just one of many resources available for patrons to borrow. At our library, they also have audiobooks, music CDs, and DVDs. I’ve heard of libraries that have seed libraries within them and others that allow patrons to borrow diverse items such as power tools, mobile hotspots, telescopes, musical instruments, and works of art. How neat is that?
- You can use computers and the internet for free. If you don’t have a computer or internet connection, then the library is a great place for you to be able to access these. Our library and most others provide computers with internet access for patrons to use. This means you can update your resume, browse news websites, fill out online job applications, read reviews about local businesses, or whatever tasks you need a computer and internet connection to complete.
- You can use quiet spaces for reading, working, or studying. It’s common knowledge that you’re supposed to be quiet in a library. This is so helpful if you’re trying to study or focus on another task. Many libraries offer specific rooms or areas (at our library these are called “study rooms”) that patrons can reserve and use while studying or working. Because these are set apart and/or enclosed, they are even quieter than the common areas.
- You can participate in reading clubs, story times, craft groups, educational seminars, and other groups. There are so many different activities offered by our library. Some center around books (story times for kids, book clubs, etc.), but others are completely unrelated (educational seminars and lectures, craft classes, family movie nights, etc.). One of the libraries in our county even offered an activity where kids could come in and read to puppies from the animal shelter! That was a huge hit with the kids and pretty much everyone else at the library. Look into what your library has to offer. It may surprise you!
- You can get help from librarians when searching for specific information or resources. It is so frustrating when you’re looking for information or resources on a specific topic but you can’t find anything. Libraries are so useful in these situations because they have librarians who are trained to help you find these! There are so many times librarians have helped me come up with new search terms or explore new resources. Ask your librarians for help if you need it. They love connecting you to the information and resources you need.
- You can purchase books at affordable prices at Friends of the Library sales. Though I love checking books out from the library, I also love purchasing books to build my home library. One of the easiest ways to afford this is to take advantage of the annual Friends of the Library sale. Many libraries have Friends of the Library groups that conduct fundraising to support the library. Book sales are a common fundraiser. Purchasing books through these sales allows you to simultaneously acquire books at low prices and support the library.
- You can become more connected to your community. Whether it is by meeting fellow residents or perusing bulletin boards, libraries are a great place to learn about your community and connect with your neighbors. At our library, there are always posters hanging in the entryway about community happenings and I often meet new people as I browse for books and visit with other parents during baby and toddler story time.
Do you utilize your local library? What is your favorite thing about it?
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