Why I love the library

I love my library! I go all the time. I have gone since I was a kid. All 3 of my kids grew up going to the library and still do. It is one of my happy places.  I cannot even image how much money my family has saved by going to the library for the last 25 years. The amount of space that all of those books would take up in our house would be crazy. When we travel, I try to go to a local library. You really get the feel of the place, I think, by going there. We do not have to pay for a membership to our library. The money comes out of our property taxes. I am already paying for it, so I might as well us it. If I had to pay a membership, I would, because it is worth it to me.  I can also use any library in my county for free. We have gone to other libraries, usually over the summer to see what they have or to go to a show or class.

When I was a kid, a library was for books. It did have some magazines and the newspaper. I did go to classes occasionally but it was nothing like it is today. I remember always having to be quiet. That is hard for a kid when they are excited. I would always get shushed by the librarians. I used to think most librarians were mean when I was little. Not any more. Our librarians are awesome.

Most people think of the library and think of books. Yes, it has books but it has so much more. You can get magazines, newspapers, Blu-Rays, DVDs, books on CDs and music CDs. Now you can rent video equipment, Bluetooth speakers, Blu-ray and DVD machines. They rent cameras, machines that convert videos to DVDs, photo and document scanners. You can rent IPads that have Netflix, HBO or HULU so you can see if you like it or you just don't want to subscribe to them.

The library holds so many free things to do I don't understand why everyone doesn't go. Nowadays when you go, there are endless types of classes. I have done cooking classes, craft classes, financial classes, exercise classes and more. We have watched movies at the library. We have had petting zoos at the library. Clowns, magicians, bands, orchestras, dance troops and more  have done shows there. We have book clubs, chess clubs, knitting groups, card groups.  The offer a defensive driving class for seniors. Beginner computer classes, genealogy classes, and writing classes are available. If you can think of it, they are probably doing a class for it. If they aren't, feel free to suggest it and they will probably do one soon. Also, any local group can use the meeting rooms. Some of the classes do charge a fee but they are much less then any where else.

My kids have done endless classes over the years. Cooking, crafts, play groups, Wii contests, scavenger hunts, karaoke, babysitting classes. A favorite was always pumpkin decorating the week before Halloween. They have done SAT prep classes. They have done letters to Veterans, made Christmas decorations to send to our soldiers, made dog bones to send to animal shelters. They do the art boards to decorate the library. They have done Battle of the Books against other libraries.  My daughter always loved leftover craft day. Every year during Christmas break they would pull everything leftover out. They would set tables up with stations. Anyone could come. It usually runs for 4 hours. You can just go from table to table doing all of the leftover crafts. We always went for the whole time when they were young. We would always meet lots of friends there. It was a great way to spend a free morning the week after Christmas. When it was over, the librarians would let us take home anything leftover. We would come home with sand art, stickers, coloring sheets and more. I remember one year we got a dozen craft boxes. My daughter decorated them for Mother's Day and gave one to each of her Grandmas and Aunts. The library also offers help with homework.

The library has free packets for certain occasions. When my younger kids were born, the older siblings got a pack. It had a congratulation card for becoming a big brother/sister. It had the Berenstains Bears' New Baby book about becoming a big brother/sister. There were coloring pages, puzzles, stickers and crayons. They loved it. They had packets if you were traveling to keep the kids busy. My favorite was the hospital packet. OD was in the hospital when she was 13. The library heard about it. They sent 3 packets with a friend of mine. It was very sweet. It gave the younger 2 something to do when they came to visit her. They went out of their way and called to check on OD. They waved all late fees (returning books and movies was not on my mind) when she got out. One of the librarians went above and beyond. She put together a collection of books that she thought OD would enjoy reading while she recovered. She even dropped them off to our house. Several of the librarians had chipped in for a get well gift for her. It was amazing.

You can get museum and park passes. We love them. It saves us a fortune. We have gone to the Planetarium, Botanical Gardens, Art Museums, and Children's Museums. We do trips to the city that are very reduced. They offer discount movie tickets, aquarium ticket, zoo tickets and area attractions. If you plan ahead, you can save a bunch of money.

Certain things you cannot take out of the library. When my kids were little and it was rainy or cold out we would meet friends there. It was a great free place and we didn't have to worry if our houses were clean. My kids would play for hours with the trains. They had 2 big train tables and each child could get 3 trains a piece to play with. They had tons of board games and puzzles too. We would play for hours. They have a special collection of books that could not be taken home. One was a Star Wars reference book. My son would curl up in a bean bag chair and read it for hours. YD loved the tea sets and stuffed animals. With her friends,  they would have big elaborate tea parties and always include the librarians. They have computer games that the kids can play and now IPads too. The have a teen section with all types of electronics for the kids. I don't even know what some of them are. But the teens love it.

The library is always updating their goods and services. They encourage patrons to make suggestions so that they are meeting peoples needs. When my son was about 10, he started reading graphic novels. At the time, the library didn't have any. So I had to buy them. I then talked to a librarian about it. They bought some of the series that my son was reading. They called the local schools to see if  kids really liked these types of books. They did . Soon there was a whole book shelf of different graphic novels. My son read almost all of them.

All of my kids as first graders did a field trip to the library. I was a parent chaperone for 2 of them. The librarian would always introduce themselves and then ask the kids if they ever were here before. A few would raise their hands. All of the children's department librarians know my kids by name and my kids know their names. I am always shocked that parents don't take their kids to the library. My oldest lives out of state now. The older librarians ask me all the time how she is doing. They took great pride when she got scholarships to college. They watched her grow. They always wish us Happy Birthday. They know about school functions and ask my kids about them. Librarians are much more then just someone to help you pick out a book.

The library online is amazing. You can download endless books to your electronic devices. They have a collection of languages that you can learn to speak. You can renew all of your items online from the comfort of your home. They do registration for all of their classes now online. Thank goodness.

 I remember when OD was little. You would have to get to the library on a Saturday morning at 8am for class registration. This was 3 times a year. But if you showed up at 8am you probably weren't going to get into the classes you wanted because the line wrapped around the library. So I would pick up my friend, and go sit on line, rain or shine at 6:30am. There would already be people there. I think some people slept in there cars.  Let me tell you there were many times that it rained. I was lucky, my husband was home with the kids but other people had to bring their kids. It was rough (I know, 1st world problems here). After waiting 1 1/2 hours outside, the doors were opened and everyone was given a number and brought inside. You then had to wait for your number to be called. Think like the DMV. When you were called you had to fill out paperwork for each child and hope that the classes they wanted were still available. Otherwise they were put on the wait list. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning(NOT!). Now it is all done online. It takes 5 minutes max. I LOVE IT!

I go every April to vote for the budget for my library. It think the library is a very important part of my community. It is an amazing resource for all of us. It is a great way for us to spend a day. If you haven't been to your library recently, go check it out. You may be surprised at all that it offers.There are some beautiful libraries out there. Next time you travel, go check one out. They are free to go in. While you are there, make sure you say hi to your librarians.

Comments

  1. You make me realize how badly I underutilize our library. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. It is still always the first thing that I do when I move to a new place: get a new library card! For the 9 months that I didn't have internet fast enough to stream netflix, I watched borrowed DVD boxed sets of my favorite tv shows every night.

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    Replies
    1. Like mother, like daughter. We both love the library.

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  3. I'm happy to hear I'm not the only person who visits libraries while vacationing. I feel I know more about the area in general when I go to the local library. I frequent the library here in my own town, too. I feel as you do...I pay taxes to support this institution so why shouldn't I get the most out of it? I'm an avid reader and probably would have difficulty supporting my reading habit if I purchased all the books I read. I feel calmness descend on me when I walk through the doors of our library and that is priceless.

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    Replies
    1. The library is one of my happy places. It is always fun to go to different libraries. They are kind of like museums. Each one is different.

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