That title may have been too much. But it caught your attention… And if so, listen: this week is National Library Week! I know, I know, I’m sure you already knew that and observed your National Library Week moment of silence, decorated your National Library Week tree, tried on your National Library Week costume, stuff like that…
Or maybe you’re thinking “There’s a National Library Week?” Yeah, me too.
But you know me, I like a silly, made-up holiday (remember Beer Can Appreciation Day and National Soup Month?). And now that I think of it, why not take a little pause to appreciate all that libraries have to offer, i. e. free stuff?
If your answer was limited to “Books,” then maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been to a library. Of course, public libraries vary from county to county, but even some of the most limited ones have more than just books.
Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious, but right when I think I’m saying something that everyone knows, I learn otherwise. (Josh is usually the litmus test for this kind of stuff, and when I mentioned to him that he could check out Kindle books from the Brooklyn Public Library on his Android phone, he was shocked).
So, for all the Joshes of the world, I thought I would take a little time to list a few of the free things that are available at my library (with a library card of course, which was free). This applies to the Brooklyn Public Library (and the New York Public Library, which is a separate system, but I still have access to with my Brooklyn card). However, I have lived in six other counties in my life, and these all had the same options too, so I know it’s not just an NYC thing.
- Books (duh), both reference and books available for check out.
- CDs (Considering how scarce the musical section in most record stores is, I have found a surprising number of musicals at public libraries — even some I’d never heard of before — and this is rare.)
- Audio tapes (like books on tape, and I mean audio CDs, but no one calls them that)
- News journals
- DVDs (though you probably won’t find a lot of Blu-Ray)
- Videocasettes (um… I don’t even own a VCR, and before I typed that I had to think really hard what those things were called that play videocassettes… VCRs)
- eBooks (This is one of the more exciting library additions I’ve noticed in recent years. My library carries Kindle, Nook, Adobe ePub, Overdrive Media Console… And more. These have to be uploaded through the library’s website, and you usually only have the titles for two weeks before they expire, but seriously? That’s kind of amazing in my opinion. And upon recent check, the BPL had almost all of the recent NY Times best sellers, so it’s not just a bunch of old stuff.)
That’s all of the multimedia I can think of for now, though I’m sure there are still more options (and if you’re lucky enough to have something like NYC’s TOFT, you have even more options).
Aside from all of the free stuff you can check out, most libraries also offer:
- Free internet access
- Free classes
- Free workshops
- Free film screenings
- Free entertainment and education programming (just grab a calendar or talk to a librarian for a schedule of events — I’ve never been to a library that didn’t have some sort of monthly programming)
Libraries are great. And free … well, taxpayers pay for them indirectly, but you know what I mean. They’re pretty close to free. And “pretty close to free” is good enough for me (most of the time).
Am I forgetting anything? What do you use your library for? The free Internet? The books? Something I have failed to mention? Share! Then drink a toast to National Library Week! Holla!