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I've always been a fan of the public library. I remember that it began when I was between 10 and 12 years old and we had just moved to a new city. I was starting to get into the Redwall series and after some help from the librarian at our new library with finding the books, I looked at half dozen or so and asked, Is that all of them?
The librarian replied, that it was all they had on the shelves but there might be more in circulation. I was floored, here was a book series that I loved and I could read all of them! Libraries quickly became a fond place in my heart and when we moved to the great plane of corn and beans in Ohio I knew we had to find the nearest library. After reading Mr. Money Mustache preach - to the choir, of course - about the benefits of the public library I wanted to share my praises too, like an evangelical who needs to praise the lord and can no longer remain seated in the pew.
What makes the library so great?
- It saves me a lot of money. I have no qualms about quitting a book mid-sentence much less in the middle of the book. Tyler Cowen and Stephen King ingrained in me that there are too many good books to read and not enough time to read them. If I spend time on the not good ones I lose time to spend on the better ones. Buying books on Amazon.com has always been a weak spot in my purchasing and while some of those purchases I love, others I never read. That's read, I never read them. At the library I can borrow and sample at any rate I'd like and never pay more than a few dollars in late fees.
- The library has a kick ass inter-library loan. I've gotten books from libraries all over Ohio and only one book You Can Do It Too! - 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories still remains unavailable at any library.
- The library has DVD's. Remember those? They are these discs that you put into a box hooked up to your TV. They were really popular before Netflix streaming and Amazon rentals. Before you get all up in arms about my deprivation of people in our house not watching movies, be not alarmed. We have digital copies of all the animated princess movies as well as a few classics that my wife and I enjoy. But we also have stuff like Ratatouille. We paid $15 to buy it in iTunes and watched it once. This could have been a library rental.
- The library has magazines and newspapers. I re-upped my Men's Health subscription for reasons not known. I've been a subscriber for close to 10 years off and on and the stuff is the same every issue. If you're not a subscriber here's what you are missing. Some French studies finds health benefits in coffee or tea. You can workout like Actor McActorson does while he's traveling by doing some combination of push-ups, squats, and weird fitness like surfing or bear-crawl mountain climbing (this doesn't actually exist and would probably be hell on your hands). Eat more healthy proteins, drink less beer, and add a few more items of produce. Your wife will not think the sex tips as interesting as you.
- The library has a great search system for online browsing. I used to save the books I wanted to read in an Amazon wishlist but now I have an Evernote note for them. The online search system finds the books at my library or other libraries and I can easily request them. Once they arrive at my library I get an email saying they have arrived.
- The library has a great children's area. My daughters are 3 and 5 and if I was to maintain a constant supply of books for them to read I would need to be writing them myself. Our library though has shelves and shelves of books about talking dogs, magical fairies, glamorous princesses, and singing pigs. They also have a train table, miniature couch, and toys we don't have at home. There is also a story time where the children's librarian reads books to the kids and has neat crafts.
- The library has internet access. I've never used this but it's a nice feature.
- The library has cookbooks. For a long time I thought cookbooks were the best gift someone could receive. Now I think they are the best gift to take up shelf space. Now we regularly get one and I leaf through it with the kids, finding one random thing that might be good and we make it together.
- The library has a genealogy section and librarian that can help trace your family lineage.
- The library stacks their new books right in front and has a running list of NYT bestsellers to look through
Your public library, more than just books.