Public Libraries

As far back as I can remember, the library has been a part of my life. I remember going to the library as a very small child and being mesmerized by the unending supply of books that were waiting for me to choose them. Once a week, my Mom would take us to the library and I would always leave with as many books as the librarian would allow me to take. My older brother—who did not like to read—would agree to check out books for me. It made me happy because it gave me more books. It made my brother happy because my Mom thought he was reading.

Once I was a little older and a lot more independent, my friends and I would ride our bikes to the library. I remember asking for a larger basket for my bike because the pretty, flowered-covered basket that I had wasn’t big enough for my books.

As an adult, my use of the library has varied. One of my libraries had very limited parking and one of my libraries didn’t open when my schedule allowed me to visit. So, I haven’t used the library to its fullest possibilities as an adult. But, then I bought an e-reading device.

I did not think I would like using an e-reader. I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands and turning the pages. I thought I would miss this aspect of reading. It took me about two minutes to get over any hesitation to use an e-reader. I love my new “book!” When I put the book down, it remembers my place and takes me there instantly when I come back. If I drop my book, I don’t lose my place. If I want to read in bed, I can turn off the lights and read until I fall asleep. When I travel, I can load up my reader with dozens of books instead of stuffing my suitcase with three or four books.

Adding to the many reasons I like my e-reader is the library. Most public libraries now have extensive collections of e-books. If a person has a library card, they can setup an account online and download books directly to their e-reader. Because you are browsing and checking out books online, there are no library hours to consider. You can “go to the library” online at midnight, if that is what works for you.  There is still a limited loan period and a return due date. However—and this may be my favorite part—when the book is due back to the library, the e-reader’s software automatically removes the book from the device. No more late fees!

Another service I love from the library is the free and discounted museum pass program. Many public libraries offer museum passes. This is a wonderful service and can save a person quite a bit. In the past couple of years, we have used museum passes from the library and saved over $100 when we visited Gloucester’s Cape Ann Museum and the Museum of Science and Fine Arts Museum in Boston.

Libraries have so many services today. It’s amazing. Many libraries offer genealogy research programs, book clubs, summer reading programs, tax assistance, and more. Some libraries offer home delivery in certain circumstances.  Our local libraries are a true treasure.

If you haven’t visited your public library recently, you might want to stop by to see what you’re missing.