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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Joys of Visiting the Library

When you say the word “library,” some people will think only of books. While books are definitely a central part of the experience, frequent visitors know that the library has so much more to offer than that. Truth is the library is many different things to many different people. Let’s take a look at some of the different reasons people love going to the library.

Multimedia offerings. Yes, there are books. And not just physical ink-and-paper books; there are also audiobooks and e-books. There are newspapers and magazines. In addition to all the reading material, there are also DVDs and CDs. Some libraries even offer video games. So wherever your interest lies, you’re sure to find something you like at the library.

Browsing. The library makes it extremely easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. You can get online, search for the item you want, and reserve it, then just go pick it up. But, as Virginia Tech professor Brian Romans notes, there’s a lot to be said for spending some time just browsing and coming across something completely unexpected.

Cost savings.1 All the items the library offers are available for checkout. Why pay upwards of $20 for the latest hardback bestseller when you can borrow it from the library? You can also check out an audiobook for a long car trip, see the latest movie release everyone is talking about, and explore new music—all for free! That’s something everyone can get behind, weak economy or not.

Job searching. Speaking of the economy, the library offers plenty of resources to help those looking for work. From books with tips on writing a résumé to computers to write it with, the library is a great asset.

Internet connectivity. If you don’t have a computer or Internet connection at home, or if it’s on the fritz, the library is the place to go. You can use a library computer or, if you just need a connection, most libraries offer WiFi access for your laptop or other device. This wireless signal may even be available near the building when the library is closed.2

Social networking. No, I’m not talking about Facebook and Twitter, but actual face-to-face human interaction. Libraries are community hubs, offering many clubs and activities or meeting spaces for outside groups. It’s a great place to get together with friends or meet new ones.

There are any number of other reasons to love going to the library. Speaking for myself, I visit my local library at least once a week. I love the smell of the books and being surrounded by them. I also enjoy being able to check out music by artists I’m not familiar with. How did you fall in love with the library? What do your patrons rave about? Let us know in the comments section below.


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