I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a post that is all about a cool library or a celebrity library I break my finger clicking as fast as humanly possible.
One of my aspirational dreams in life is to have an epic library. Even if I can only afford a tiny house where I end up sleeping on piles of books…but that’s a story for another time.
Since I love libraries, I guess you probably do too. So, I want to create a new monthly post here: the library of the month.
I’m going to feature at least one but likely a few (library of the month sounds better than libraries of the month) options, maybe they’ll be on a theme, maybe not.
Library of the Month: Your Local Library
You might have seen this Tweet floating around this week (with appropriate amounts of scorn!):
Shit like this is not only stupid, but it’s infuriating. By all means, let’s make sure we close the things that actually help foster community and get people reading!
I spent much of my youth in my local library. My mom (a former school teacher) would take my sister and me to the library twice a week. Once to get a bunch of books then later to return and get more.
Rinse and repeat for years and years.
I’m 100% sure that this helped foster my love of reading. I remember actively looking forward going in and taking out a pile of books.
As I got older, I would go to the library on my own to explore. I’d bring my laptop and do work during college breaks in peace and quiet. Even now, I still pop in from time to time or make great use of the online ebook library for my Kindle.
And when I travel, a library is often a great spot to get work done. Last summer, I spent a few months housesitting for friends in Liverpool, England.
I wandered the town looking for good places to work with my trusty laptop when I came across the Liverpool Central Library.
Wow, is all I can say. It was a beautiful and vibrant spot to work.
The reading room was my favorite space to park myself for a few hours and get things done. It was crowded with hundreds of people every time I went there. And, by the way, the lady in the ground floor cafe made a killer caffè mocha.
Thankfully, our friend here heard so many stories of all of the people who go to libraries that he actually had his mind changed. Does that even happen on the internet anymore?
The fact of the matter is libraries are in trouble.
More often than not, these things are the first to get the ax when budget cuts come around. This year is no different as the proposed FY 2018 budget sees a 90% cut to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The vast majority of this money goes to funding local libraries, especially in areas where libraries are few and far between.
I was lucky enough to grow up in suburban Boston in a well-off community that had a well stocked and funded local library. Many people across the country (and the world) don’t have access to these.
I don’t want to get political, though I’m sure it’s relatively easy to figure out which way I lean. But libraries are important and I stand by that.
So, this post is a little bit different.
While I still advocate for searching out some of the most amazing and beautiful libraries in the world, there are gems in your own backyard too.
Here’s the local library of my youth, the Morrill Memorial Library:
Yup, it’s just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.
How to Find Local Libraries
I’m sure you can find a library in your local area that is just like it. Most cities will have at least one library. And a lot of local colleges and universities will typically have portions of their libraries open to the public.
If you live in a more rural area, then finding a local library can be more of an issue. Some towns band together and have mobile libraries that travel around areas to bring books.
If you need some help finding a library in your local area or while you’re on the road, I’ve got you covered.
These sites have lists of public libraries:
- USA.gov – Libraries and Archives
- PublicLibraries.com – List of Public Libraries
- LibWeb.org – Libraries Around the World
- WorldCat.org – World Catalog of Libraries
- Overdrive.com – Libraries With Digital Content
I plan on practicing what I preach here and actively spend more time using local libraries. I hope you might be moved enough to do the same. As a fellow reader, I hope you are!
If you have a suggestion or recommendation for an upcoming Library of the Month, leave me a comment. You can check out last month’s edition right here.