In the past, libraries have had reputations for being boring, stuffy places filled with decrepit books and even more decrepit old ladies. But if you haven’t noticed, libraries all across the country have received major makeovers in recent years in an effort to stay relevant, up-to-date, and attractive to patrons. As lifelong book-lovers and loyal library patrons, we could probably come up with a thousand reasons to hang out at the library, but for the sake of brevity, we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 reasons why the library is the place to be for readers of all ages:
1. Inter-library Loan
If your library doesn’t have the book/audiobook/DVD/CD you’re looking for, most likely they can get it. Through the wonders of inter-library loan, accessibility usually isn’t a problem anymore. Sometimes you may have to pay a tiny fee, but chances are, if a library in your region has the item you so desire (you can find out for sure on WorldCat), local librarians/superheroes will do their best to make sure you can access it. Most of the time, all you have to do is fill out a slip of paper and within a week or two the item conveniently arrives at your local branch. So the next time you browse your library shelves and can’t find what you’re looking for, just head on over to the Reference desk and ask about their inter-library loan program.
2. Book Clubs
If a book club is what’s missing in your life, look no further than your local library! Most institutions these days offer a variety of book clubs for adults, children, and teens. If your library doesn’t offer the kind of book club you’re looking for, offer to start one. The library is a place that encourages and cultivates knowledge and exists to serve the needs of the community, so if you and your friends want to start a club centered on a particular genre or area of interest, talk to the librarians about it. Chances are, if your idea can generate enough community interest and support, your book club dreams can become a reality!
3. Author Events
It’s easy to forget that authors are a part of the entertainment industry, and just as musicians and bands go on tour, so do most authors. While most author events take place at bookstores to encourage sales, a great deal of author readings/signings take place in libraries, especially if you live in a major city. Check your library’s events calendar to find out which authors will be coming to your town. It can be a great way to discover local writers and meet folks in the literary community.
4. Children’s Events
No matter what age your child is, chances are your local library offers a variety of events and activities to serve their needs. From storytime and craft events for babies and toddlers to homework help and discussion groups for adolescents and teens, you’d be surprised by how many library programs are available for kids these days. A great deal of these events are educational, but there are plenty of activities for pure entertainment, such as gaming events, movie screenings, and social mixers. If your child is looking for fun summer activities, look no further than the library!
Now that most of the literary community has jumped on the e-book bandwagon, it’s no surprise that the majority of libraries have begun to offer a wide variety of e-books for practically every device. There have been a few complications with digital rights issues, but most library institutions now offer the ability to check out e-books and digital audiobooks without leaving your home. It may sound like a complicated process, but remember, librarians are there to help you, so give them a call or pay a visit to the Reference desk to find out more about how you can check out digital materials.