Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Ode To Public Libraries

We are all faced with trying to find ways to cut back on our non-essential spending during these difficult economic times. Since I love to read I have had to be more careful about purchasing books, magazine subscriptions and other media items like DVD's. OF course I am a HUGE fan of the public library, and am blessed to live where we have a terrific selection of items at our library. This is my number one source for all of the above. The nice thing about the library is you can try new authors, new genres and movies you might not have seen otherwise because they are free. If you don't like them, you haven't lost anything. I have discovered some great authors simply by browsing the shelves of the local library. I have also found TV shows that I didn't watch when they were on, that have now been released on DVD, and discovered some real gems that way. I encourage you to make your local library a regular part of your life.

Another wonderful thing I have found at my library are the free programs they offer. They have everything you can imagine - from classes and lectures on every theme imaginable to live music and plays. Most of these are completely free, and if there is a charge it is usually very nominal, a few bucks at most. You can learn how to make jewelry, all about another culture, see a Shakespeare Comedy or listen to Do-Wop music under the stars! If you have little ones, just about every library offers a "story time" for the kiddos - a great way to get them interested in books and reading, even before they are old enough to actually read!

Reference Librarians are another great resource of your membership. They can help answer questions on a variety of subjects and point you in the right direction for finding information on whatever you might be interested in. When I first started blogging, my local reference librarian was able to find many books not only blogging, but also on the social networking sites, like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Any books they didn't have at my branch were simply ordered from another branch and sent to me. He even had some ideas for books that I would never have thought of, many of which have helped me a lot.

Lastly, our library system offers free passes to some of the major museums in our area. Because I live just outside NYC, that means I can get into many of the major museums in the country, like The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With the cost of admission for a family easily reaching over $100, this is a big savings and a cultural goldmine. Check with your local library to see what types of passes they might offer for local cultural attractions nearby.

The best part of all this is the library card, completely free, and in the words of a certain credit card commercial we all know, "PRICELESS" !


Daisy said...

We love the library, too! My Mommie goes there about every 2 weeks to get more books. I wonder if the libraries are getting more traffic now during these difficult times?

MJ said...

There are two other features of libraries that I particularly love. The first is hold requests - the ability to place a hold on any library material, so when you go to the library to pick it up, you don't have to find it on the shelf. This is particularly useful if all copies of the item are checked out. Usually, if the library is part of a larger system, this will also allow you to check out an item from another library without going there. Librarians also will pull materials for you if you call ahead.

The second thing I love is interlibrary loan (ILL). If there's a book or something you want to check out and your library doesn't have it, typically they can work with other libraries in the country so you can still check it out. I've read a lot of chronic illness/medical books this way.

Be well,

Marites said...

I love libraries and i just envy you for being able to get to them easily with all the freebies you can get:)

Dottie said...

Having just returned from our local library with a stack of books and DVD's, I can definately agree with you. Libraries are wonderful. Here in New York we have the best of all things,no limit on what we can take out in the way of books and reasonable limit on DVD's and magazines. It is also great to be able to go to a neighboring library and be welcomed as if we were a patron there and given priveleges to take out as many books, etc. as we wish.

Tiglizzyclone said...

Libraries are really cool places. I went to Graduate school to become a librarian. And keep thinking one day I would like to work in a library. But never have had a job as a librarian ... Mostly because of major surgery which happened within a couple months of graduation (kidney cancer) - then I chickened out on changing jobs.