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Your Library in times of economical decline


I had an argument with my Aunt recently about the library. She didn't see it as a useful resource when people are having financial problems ("who wants to read when they are poor?"). It then occurred to me that she probably had not been to a library in a donkey's age, so does not realize the untapped wealth in a library (so long as you take everything back on time!). Then I got to thinking perhaps there are many people out there who just think of a library as a place for stuffy books. You are missing out! I don't know about your library, but here is a list of things MY library is good for, and maybe yours is too!

- Employment Resources, so needed with people getting laid off right, left and center. Librarians are on hand to show you how to search for a job, apply, spruce up your resume, loan you resources on how to prep for an interview, go back to school, and provide free printing services (in Ontario you get 10 free resumes and cover letters per day printed off). Did I mention this is free?

- Stuffy books. Also, that new James Patterson you really want to read that is still in hard cover and not on your budget radar? Free at your library. So is that Cold Play CD, and every major movie that has just been released. And yep, these are free.

- Don't like to read? Eyesight getting poor? They have books on tape, CD and MP3, and you don't even have to step foot in the library to access it; many libraries have signed up for e-books and downloadable books, free to download straight to your computer, MP3 player and iPod. The beauty of these is you don't have to remember to return them! Perfect for road trips, just download or burn with no worries of having to remember to return after your vacation.

-Pedometers. Weird, huh? Yep, you can now borrow a pedometer, along with tips for a more active lifestyle. They also carry numerous dvds and books on dieting, cookbooks, yoga, pilates, bollywood dance workout etc. Some branches even offer yoga...

- Free or low fee classes: everything from excel for beginners to yoga and smoothies with your teen. For all you parents out there, libraries offer free events for kids during school breaks and the summer holidays. They offer play groups and storytimes for all the little non-readers loking to have some time (and some parents looking for a break!) And those pesky meet the teacher/parent days are usually covered as well, with movies, DDR and Wii (I can't believe the library has a Wii and I don't!). They also do birthdays...

-Good old fashion research services. A budding geneologist? They have you covered. Want to buy, fix or sell a car? Want to grow your own food? Looking for books on investment advice? Library staff are happy to help you find the material you need. They even host plant exchanges in the S[ring to get that garden going!

- Internet and computer services. Some computers are even unfiltered (shhh!).

- Visiting library services - they come to you when you are unable to.

- New to the country? Hable Espanol? They provide ESL language kits, conversation circles, reading buddies, information on emmigration etc. And they are patient and welcoming. Want to learn a new language? Or just brush up your Spanish for that trip down south? Yep. And Yep.

- And, most strangely, a Kil-o-wat. This device plugs into an outlet, and then, say, your fridge is plugged into it. After some time it will tell you how much energy you are using by running your fridge constantly, and how much money that is costing you. This is neat for things that you may leave running that is not necessar, like a computer or a fan, and strives to educate about energy conservation.

- Teen activities. My library is LOUD. That's our program for battle of the bands held each year. They also loan games, like chess, monopoly, franklin games. Kids make use of the free CD-ROM computers filled with educational games, or access online games like Runescape.

- People call the library to find a phone number, address, find out their daily horoscope, random word look-ups in a slang dictionary or help finding that last clue in the daily paper crossword puzzle. And the librarians think it's funny!

I am sure there is more my library offers that I don't know about. They are constantly changing to suit the needs of those they serve. If you are a library user, try using this calculator to see how much you are Not having to spend for free services: http://www.hooksett.lib.nh.us/libraryuse.html

What does your library offer that is useful to you?
Mar 09, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

7 Replies

Ali de Bold


That is the cutest endorsement for libraries ever!

Libraries are great, but I wish they served cappuccinos and played good music instead of whispering and no drinks allowed.
Mar 09, 2009 @ 10:12 pm


Actually, there is a little red roaster attached to mine (mm, yummy
chai), and light snacks are allowed, as well as drinks, so long as they
have a lid. And it's loud. Very loud. I wish people did whisper! I think even my university library has a snack place within.

It also feeds my magazine addiction, since I refuse to buy them anymore...buying People every week can add up!
Mar 09, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

Good to know!

I remember having this conversation with you earlier this week, I can't believe the library has ALL that stuff happening. I guess they have to in order to not be beat out by Chapters/Indigo etc. I had no idea that they allowed you to eat or drink in there, that would have been my major deterrent also!
Mar 10, 2009 @ 11:50 am

Huge library fan

Library, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. Others have already mentioned the variety of programs libraries offer. The main thing is to check out the different library branches in your area (because they won't have the same features). The one nearest me, for instance, has a well-stocked art studio with monthly themed activities as well as guided art projects during the week - the only library branch of 10 in the metro area to offer this! The central branch features an in-house cafe - set away from the tables and study areas - that serves (almost) Starbucks worthy coffee.

2. All area branches in my city have dedicated children sections with play areas and parent friendly computers (read here: with restrictions on internet use); most of the time they are set further apart from the main stacks so if the kids get a little rambunctious during story time the other patrons won't be disturbed.

3. I usually "test drive" a book at the library, being too chintzy to buy something I've never read (exception being if it's an author I like already). 9 times out of 10, if I like it I head to the store and buy it. I have also read an enormous amount of crap that I've spared myself the frustration of buying and never rereading.

People avoid libraries for all sorts of reasons - some don't like the "used book" stigma and others don't like the ambiance. Just check out a few different ones before you cast your vote! I think it's quite preposterous that because the economy's tanking, no one has use for a library. Exactly the opposite, I believe, as the escapism a great novel can give is worth the paltry $0.85 in late fees compared to $24.99 the bookstore charges.
Mar 10, 2009 @ 07:25 pm

Study time

There's no better place to study...
Mar 10, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

book donations

I drop books off for donation at the library about once a year. It's a great place to get rid of some of the books you know you'll never read. But I hate going to used bookstore and they try to pay you $0.10 for a brand new book you've paid $12 for. I'd much rather see my books go to good use.

Most of my books are brand new when I donate them. I've often find books in excellent conditions (better than my own favourite books at home) in the library. These are contemporary books, not the borrowing old history books about some tribe that lived in Canada 100 years ago. So people who thinks they can only get good books at the library clearly has never been to one and really search for what they want.

I also find the library is a great place to go if you want to try out new authors. I don't mind buying books brand new but I hate wasting my money on a book I don't like. So I go to the library, take out a few books written by the author I'd like to try and see if I like their writing style. This has saved me a lot of money because many books have interesting storyline but I simply don't like the writing style.

Library is also a great place for romance novels. My friend used to go there and take out stacks of them at a time. I can't imagine her buying all those novels and not be broke!
Mar 11, 2009 @ 08:07 am

I prefer public libraries to school libraries...

...because people usually go there mostly for play, rather than work.
My university library is packed with too many stressed students. I like to go to the public library whenever I need a break, and browse magazines for free. :)
Mar 11, 2009 @ 11:41 am

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