Did you know April 13 to April 19 is National Library Week? The American Library Association (ALA) designates this holiday on the second week of every April to celebrate the contributions of libraries and librarians to our communities.
When the ALA first established the holiday in 1958, television and radio were rising in popularity, and some people feared that reading would become obsolete. Sound familiar? Today, the increasing availability of digital media on personal computers, smart phones and tablets, has again led people to predict the demise of public libraries.
But is there truth in that? According to a Pew Research study, people who are most involved with their local libraries are some of the highest technology users around. In the same research study, “90% of Americans ages 16 and older say that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community.”
Here are 5 reasons to love libraries. What are some of yours?
Things there are free. Anyone with valid identification can get a free membership at most public libraries. Not only can you borrow free books, but some libraries also let you check out CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and eBooks. Some even let you check out art work and some let you check out seeds and house seed libraries. Even if there is a fee for things, it’s usually very minimal.
Your library is a community center. Aside from the shelves full of books from the greatest thinkers throughout history, there are classes, lectures, special programs and author talks, movie nights, story times, homework help, computer and internet access (free WiFi), and even live musical performances.
Book sales. One of my favorite things about my local library are the used book sales. While you can save a bundle on books, especially paperback books, sometimes you find that hidden treasure you have been looking to add to your LP collection, since many sales include used records, CDS, magazines and comic books. The best part? Since things are so cheap, you can buy more, and once you are done with them, donate them back for future sales.
Librarians. They are experts at finding information, and they can save you time and lots of frustration by knowing how and where to find the information you need.
You always get something you want. Whether you are going in to check out the latest bestseller or a book on your favorite hobby, or you want to use the free Wi-Fi, or attend a class, it’s guaranteed that you will leave with something that you like. I can’t think of many other places that offer that.
This year’s theme is “Lives change @ your library.” How has the library changed your life? I’d love to hear about it, so please leave a comment here. And, the ALA is asking you to tweet about how the library has changed your life using the hashtag #LivesChange and #NLW14.