We LOVE to read. Wait. *I* LOVE to read. Pat likes to read. And I read just about everything! Which is why I love the library. I would be a very very poor girl without the library. Mind you, there are books I do add to my collection, or at least request as gifts, but more often than not, I am at the library. And Half Price Books, on occasion. Here’s how I know I love to read – have you ever read a book, got halfway through and then realized you’d already read this book? Yeah, that’s me 80% of the time. I read so much I forget what I’ve read. Sad, I know. That’s why when a book sticks with me I know it’s a keeper. And as you read Tuesday, I’m starting a new weekly post about my favorite books. But for now…
Why *I* LOVE the library
I love the library because when I was a child, books were my first friends. Then they became my escape. Then they evolved into my adventures. Finally, they became my education. Yes, yes, I went to school, I even went to college…I have two degrees in Sociology…but books were where I learned about the world! Where I learned about things and stuff and people and relationships and and and!
When I was 12, my family moved from west of DFW to east of DFW – in the middle of the summer – to a brand new subdivision development. There were only three streets in my neighborhood at the time. No kids. Well, no kids MY age. So my mom took me to the public library. And there I went every weekday that whole summer, reading my way around the building. I read all the Young Adult fiction, worked my way into exploring the Adult fiction and discovered the most interesting world in NON-FICTION! Yes. I was (and still am) a nerd. I learned about all kinds of things that summer. Things I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to learn about…YET. And what I learned and read set in motion my love of the public library. What I learned in school was supplemented by what I learned at the library. And I like to think it helped. In a sense, I got to choose my education. It wasn’t just what was delivered in the classroom, it was what was delivered through my imagination.
And yet, for a dozen or so years, I didn’t go to the library. I bought my books. From national bookstores, online bookstores and even some local ones. The thing is, I’ve paid my property taxes over the years. And it occurred to me that part of my taxes goes to pay for the library. Where I can check out a book. For FREE. And in case you didn’t already know, I love FREE. A lot. I do have a small collection of books, titles that continually revive my intellectual peace. I am very picky about who gets into my collection. I tend to pare it down every few years or so. But the truth is, the last time I hauled a huge box to Half Price Books, I realized how little I go to the library anymore. And how I missed the experience of finding a book, using the Dewey decimal system (I LOVED the card catalog), bringing home numerous volumes of stuff to read, to learn, to devour, to enjoy. I can’t get that from the bookstore, my bill would be too high. And so I give to you my list of reasons why YOU should love your library.
Reasons Why You Should Love Your Library
- Books! Books of all kinds. Free to you for two to three weeks (depends on your library’s policies) and that period can be renewed for another two or three weeks! Unlimited BOOKS!
- Education. Yes, I said education. At my public library, I was allowed to check out whatever book I wanted. So I did. And learned way more than I ever could in school.
- Travel. Books can take you around the world in an hour, a day, a week…I shared Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons with my mom. She said the story was great, but the statues weren’t located where he said they were and it distracted her and I laughed because I remember thinking the SAME thing!
- You already pay for it through your property taxes. So why are you buying books you already paid for? And renters, part of your rent pays your landlord’s property taxes, so by default, you HAVE paid for the library.
- It contributes to your decluttering – if you only have the book in your house for as long as you’re reading it, it doesn’t take up space after you’re done – and yes, I know e-readers offer the same convenience, but see #4 above.
- Interlibrary Loans. Handy little option to have. If you’re looking for a book and your public library doesn’t have it, well, your library can find it at another library and borrow it from them for you! If your library doesn’t publicize it, ask about it.
- Accessibility. My public library offers online language courses. And a variety of languages, too. There are computer banks for the public to ‘check out’ for a period of time. I can download audiobooks to my MP3 player to listen to at the gym (reading on the treadmill makes Ky not so graceful). My public library even has a DVD collection. Most, if not all of the latest releases are available to check out for FREE! All the things I can buy, I can access through the library. They even have email only desktops for the public to check their web-based email.
- Quiet. Where else can you go and it’s totally quiet? Coffee shops inevitably have music playing in the background. Bookstores, too. The library is quiet. The iconic librarian giving you the mean eye and telling you to SHUSH has been drilled into all of us for so long that we just STOP TALKING the minute we walk into the library. Or at least, start whispering. It’s quiet. No tv, no telephone, no electronic noise. Just a hushed environment that calms the mind. It’s peaceful there.
So go now to your local library and show some love!