It’s National Library Week. Yes, they still exist although we have an endless availability of ebooks merely a tap away. They still provide a quiet refuge to study or get away from a noisy house. They still have the coolest air on a steamy hot summer’s day. They still offer learning programs for children and adults.
The electronic age didn’t diminish their importance in the community. Libraries offer venues for discussions. They give over space for polling stations during elections. They give kids and people places and opportunities to meet in a safe environment.
But like everything, libraries had to embrace change, and they leveraged what they can offer to keep themselves relevant: books. Instead of driving to a library, I can check out and read books through an app. Audiobooks, too. University libraries let students access databases for online research. Books, journal articles and newspapers (even back copies on microfiche) are now available from a desktop/laptop/tablet at home, at work, in the car, or while on vacation. And all for free.
Libraries took themselves to the next level.
Don’t get me wrong, I use my Kindle Unlimited subscription to read for free, and with it have access to a huge amount of titles. But rarely do I get the bestsellers or recent classics for free. That’s when I turn to my library app. And while popular works might have a wait list, I can still eventually read them for free. Waiting just means I have to, break my heart, read a different book.
While I’m one to use my library card from home to read and research, sometimes I do drop by my brick-and-mortar library. Because nothing beats the knowledge of a librarian. They know what’s trending or what new authors to try for certain genres. And because they’ll ask you questions to narrow down the potential list in their head, their recommendations are way better than a google search.
So, stop by your local library sometime. Ask about their app and how to checkout ebooks or access research databases using your library card. You’ll find the experience is like linking up with a long-lost friend.