The Magic Of Public Libraries

Guys. Guys! GUYS!

Ok I have your attention.

I have a public service announcement. This one’s important: You should go visit your library. Like, yesterday. And if not yesterday, at least make a point to take a stroll there tomorrow. Because the library is a wonderful place. It took me until I was twenty-five to realize it, but I have to make up for lost time.

You know what I used to do when I wanted a book? Spend $10-15 on each. I lumbered hundreds if not thousands of dollars of printed paper the 1.5 miles from the bookstore to my house. Uphill. And then, if after a couple chapters I didn’t like the book, it’d sit there on my nightstand. Taunting me. Like my copy of Ulysses. That sucker will be there for years.

Now what do I do? I put a hold for the book at my local library. It’ll get shipped a half mile from my house from anywhere in the entire state. And then, if it’s not to my taste? I bring it back. Just like that– poof, it’s gone! Even if I do like the book, I could buy a copy later. And, really, how many of my books have I read more than once? Less than 20%, that’s for sure.

This frees up two valuable resources: money and space. And what do I have to pay in return for this privilege? Literally nothing. I mean, my property and income taxes, sure, but I was paying those anyway.

In addition to physical books, the library grants me access to a lot of cool digital content. Newspaper access, ebooks, movies, audiobooks. And I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home for it either, just type in my library card number and have a world of DRM’d information right at my fingertips.

Plus, my library gives out free museum passes which, out here, is like giving out free gold. It costs a family of four (two parents, two kids) $90 to visit the science museum on a Saturday. With a free pass from the library? $0. Four for the aquarium goes from $94 retail down to $40. So on and so forth for the fine arts, contemporary arts, natural history, local history, and children’s museums. And the zoo too!

How often do you visit your local library?


7 thoughts on “The Magic Of Public Libraries

  1. I was just reading Luxe Strategist’s post and Kris (Chronicles of a Father with Cents)’s comment, and I’ll definitely be signing up for a library card soon! I love buying books, but I have so many books I’m just mildly curious about, I think going to the library would be perfect (I have my eye on those ebooks and audiobooks!)


  2. I check out ebooks from mine – so easy! I also do audiobooks, and they have a tool checkout (coolest things ever).

    My property taxes give something like $400/year to our local library !!!! Since I’m already paying for it, I may as well use it! I almost never get physical books though – I’m a serial late returner and the library is not on my way home.


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