Top Reasons to Visit Your Local Library

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The simplest definition of a library: It's a place that houses and lends books to its members. But in this age of digital information, e-books and the internet, is there still a reason to go to the library?

The answer is an emphatic "yes." More than just the place where books live, libraries are an integral part of any community. They provide information, resources and a connection to the world at large. Librarians are highly-trained professionals who can offer guidance to students, job-seekers and others conducting research on almost any topic imaginable.

Here are just a few of the reasons you should support and go to your local library.

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Free Library Card

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Most libraries still provide free cards to new patrons (and free renewals). Not only can you borrow books, videos and other library materials with your library card, but many cities and towns offer discounts to other locally-supported venues like museums and concerts to library cardholders.

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The First Libraries

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Thousands of years ago, Sumerians kept clay tablets with cuneiform writing in what we now call libraries. It's believed these were the first such collections. Other ancient civilizations including Alexandria, Greece, and Rome, also kept important texts in early versions of community libraries.

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Libraries are Enlightening

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Most libraries have plenty of well-lit reading areas, so you won't ruin your eyesight by squinting at that tiny print. But libraries also offer great reference materials that will illuminate your understanding of many topics (yes, it's a bit of a corny pun, but it's still true).

If you have questions about what you're reading, whether you need something better explained or are seeking more context, you can explore further in encyclopedias and other reference books. Or you can ask one of the experts on staff. Speaking of librarians...

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Librarians Know (Almost) Everything

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Librarians are professionally trained to help you find what you're looking for at the library. They're ably supported by library technicians and library assistants. Most librarians (particularly at larger libraries) have master's degrees in either Information Science or Library Science from American Library Association-accredited schools. 

And once you become a regular at your local library, the staff can help you find books you'll enjoy. Depending on the size of the library, the head librarian may be responsible for handling budgets and fundraising. Most librarians at public libraries enjoy (and excel at) connecting curious patrons with the wealth of information libraries have to offer.

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Libraries Can Get Rare Books

Detail of rare books on shelves in a library
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Some rare and out-of-print books may be on reserve, so you may have to put in a special request if there's a particular book you need. Larger library systems provide patrons access to manuscripts and books that aren't for sale anywhere. Some readers travel around the world to visit rare books and manuscripts at a holding library.

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Libraries Are Community Hubs

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Even the smallest community library hosts local events, including appearances by guest lecturers, novelists, poets or other experts. And libraries are likely to mark events like National Book Month, National Poetry Month, well-known authors' birthdays (William Shakespeare is April 23!) and other such celebrations.

They're also meeting places for book clubs and literary discussions, and let community members post information about events or related activities on public message boards. It's not uncommon to discover people who shared your interests via the library.

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Libraries Need Your Support

Volunteer Librarian Helping Student
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Many libraries are in an ongoing struggle to stay open, as they try to maintain a level of service even as their budgets are constantly being trimmed back. You can make a difference in several ways: Volunteer your time, donate books, encourage others to visit the library or participate in fundraising events. Check in with your local library to see what you can do to make a difference.

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Your Citation
Lombardi, Esther. "Top Reasons to Visit Your Local Library." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Lombardi, Esther. (2021, February 16). Top Reasons to Visit Your Local Library. Retrieved from Lombardi, Esther. "Top Reasons to Visit Your Local Library." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).