Hidden Gems: Libraries


When was the last time you visited your local library? Do you even KNOW where it’s located, or have a card there, or anything? Many people may feel like reading and libraries have gone out of style – we’re so busy with EVERYTHING ELSE that demands our attention (from home, to work, social media, going out with friends, family)… who has time to read, let alone go to the library and pick out something?I had wanted to write this post a few days ago, but felt utterly exhausted and ended up writing nothing at all = but hey, we’re both here now and that’s what counts, right?

Let me preface this by saying that I work at a local library (though NO, I am not a librarian – that actually requires a graduate school degree in library science); therefore, perhaps I am apt to be a bit more privy to the wealth that a library holds.

Today, I’m sharing that wealth with you. First, I’ll let you in on a little secret: libraries aren’t just books. In fact, they’re much more. My library system, which has 37 total libraries throughout the county, offers books (of course) as well as e-Books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, even some retro VHS tapes for your use. There’s fiction of all types: children’s, young adult, mystery, science fiction, African American, foreign language; as well as nonfiction on every topic you could think of.

In addition to those physical attributes, there’s Internet access with printers and copiers (for a small fee), as well as interlibrary loan services that will allow you to request books from outside the system. We also have a historical room with microfilm and microfiche, old newspapers and historical records and books from the area.

Online databases are perhaps one of the greatest things: with just a library card, you can use these resources from the library or at home. The databases my library is connected to, for instance, offer genealogy resources, newspaper archives, research information, and so much more. (Those databases would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars for an individual user.)

The nice thing about a library is that you can use it as much or as little as you want. If you’d like to make a trip weekly and stock up on books, movies, etc. – go for it. If you only want to go once a month, or access databases at home and only visit occasionally – go for it. Either way, use the resources. They’re free and let’s face it, how many things can we get for free nowadays?

(Of course, I’m a constant visitor – I’m at the library three days a week and make it a point to check out materials every so often, though I’m more the type to check out a lot of materials at once, take the full two weeks to finish them, then get some more. You might prefer to only have one book at a time… whatever your style, go with it!)

Not only are there a lot of valuable resources at the library – it saves you money. Let me show you. The below list shows all the items I currently have checked out from my branch, as well as the values if you were to purchase these items from Amazon.

It’s Kind of A Funny Story (book): $9.99
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: $10.20
The Confidence Gap: $11.35
The Happiness Project: $10.19
Civil War 101: $5.80
Game of Thrones, Season 1 DVD: $34.96

So, if I were to purchase these items from Amazon, it would cost nearly $83 without tax or shipping – and I got them all for free.

You may be saying this – yes, they’re free, but you’re only borrowing them, and you have to return them. That’s true, of course, and that’s the great part of all this. If I don’t like the book, I’m not losing any money. If I’m not a huge fan of the show, oh well! If I were to purchase these things, I’d be stuck with them. The rotation of items and the freedom you get are some of the greatest options with the library.

So go on, what are you waiting for? Look it up and go visit your local library. Sign up for a card, check some things out (just make sure you return them in time!), use the resources. Research, investigate, read, and enjoy.

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