by Kristen Martin
I push against the tall doors, almost too heavy for me, when I see rows of shelves teeming with books! Books of every color and size with bright pictures or noble bindings. Then I am told I can pick out five to take home with me. I can barely believe the world I’ve just walked into.
I received my very first library card and felt like a grownup with a credit card. I had the power to choose which worlds I wanted to explore. It started simply with some Dr. Suess. Then, I read the Little House series; I read Jane Eyre, The Giver, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Charlotte’s Web. I didn’t realize until much later in life that those trips to the library gave me so much more than a love of reading—it gave me the chance to explore new ideas and the courage to become who I wanted to be.
Today’s libraries offer so much more than books.
- Audiobooks, some are available to download to your smartphone through apps like Overdrive
- Movies and TV Shows in DVD and BluRay
- Magazines and newspapers dating back centuries
- Computers with internet and printing
- Experts to help with research—including genealogy
- Some have tools and sporting equipment you can borrow
- Many sell used books and movies for an exceptional price ($.25 – $5.00 for hardback books!)
More than all of this they include activities for the whole family to enjoy.
- Story-time readings of children’s books
- Favorite characters parties with guest like Winnie the Pooh or Mickey
- Events for teens/pre-teens such as dances and lock-ins
- Movie screenings of popular movies and art films
- Author readings and signings
- Special speakers with all different kinds of expertise
- Book clubs
- Classes for everything from computer skills to learning a new language.
According to ILoveLibraries.org, “libraries are community hubs. In addition to connecting people to information, libraries connect people to people. They are safe havens for kids when school is not in session, offering after-school homework help, games, and book clubs. Libraries offer computer classes, enabling older adults to stay engaged in a digital world. Bookmobiles and community outreach programs keep those living in remote areas or those who are housebound connected to the larger community.”
Seeing this video made by high school students and librarians reminded me how great a trip to the library can be. Visit your local library today and talk to a librarian—they are a wealth of knowledge just waiting to explore with you.