That I think public libraries are awesome is (or at least should be!) a well-established fact around here.
But maybe you’re not so sure why you should care about your local public library? Maybe it’s small and kind of dark and not as well-lit and well-designed as the local giant corporate bookstore?
Lifehacker recently posted an article called “Get the most out of your library — online.” This lists a lot of great things that libraries offer for patrons, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list. And it doesn’t touch on what you can do and find at the library if you go in person. Author visits, community group meetings (clubs and whatnot), Internet access, information about the community or neighborhood, literacy classes, ESL classes — libraries around the country offer all kinds of cool stuff for patrons and people in the community.
Confession: I never visited the Somerville Public Library until I started library school — I don’t know why, there’s a branch in my neighborhood! I’ve been a couple of times since. They’re partnered with libraries all over the area, so there’s a huge selection of books available through interlibrary loan — including books at the other two SPL branch libraries, which are less convenient for me to get to. And I still haven’t fully explored the building housing the branch near me, or the main branch building. I’ll even admit to you that I, a future librarian, feel sheepish wandering around in a new library (partially because, as a future librarian, I shouldn’t feel sheepish and should feel confident to walk around anywhere as long as it’s not a door behind a desk or marked “keep out”!).
So, if I promise to explore libraries fearlessly, will you promise to wander by your library sometime and see what they have to offer? Don’t let an outdated-looking website or a small, creaky building scare you away.