I spend time at the library. MUCH time.
Because I love books. The smell, the feel, the sight, and the anticipation of opening the pages and jumping into an adventure pull me in. Every. Single. Time.
So I live, I mean visit my library. Actually, I patronize nearly all of my libraries, the ones in the Yakima Valley. Plus I have connections with other libraries not in my area, which is perfect when I need resources or just want to snoop and see what is out there.
Really you can’t lose when you visit the library. Free books! Free help, internet, bathrooms, AC (or heating), gathering place, information, friends…The library is community.
In my much library time, I’ve noticed several different groups frequenting the hallowed halls of bookdom.
Story Time. If I pull up and the lot is full, I know it’s story time. Stories, songs, games, crafts, and fun times for the kiddos be going on. During the summer, libraries gain a larger audience in the form of kids and adults on break. Reading incentive programs keep readers involved and active with the printed word.
Computer Users. In the olden days, there were no computers. Period. But patrons can now log on to banks of computers to research, read, and check email. Library users can even log in with personal computers and use the internet free of charge (at least at our libraries). Electronic resources are available for check out and the card catalog can be searched from the comfort of home. While the term card catalog is out of date, library resources are still present and much easier to access. One of my favorite library features is the ability to reserve books from home and pick them up when they arrive at the nearest library.
Homeschoolers. The homeschool population is growing. I see homeschool families return to the library on a regular basis. Wonderful resources and reading materials are ready for the picking, so why not?
Book Clubs. What better place is there to have a book club than the library? Our library sometimes hosts a community read with a local author. Most times, the author does a guest visit where readers can meet and greet. Special programs are provided for different age groups, complete with authors, books, and activities.
Study Groups. High school and college students are often working collaboratively around large tables at the library. The library design has planned for this activity by including both small and large tables and seating areas which are perfect for meeting and working.
Retirees. These folks have it going on! Unlimited books to read, books on CD to listen to, computers to use, help on hand if necessary, and interactions with others make the library the place to be.
The Homeless. The library is free and climate-controlled, provides restrooms and drinking fountains, and offers multiple forms of entertainment and resources. While I’ve noticed several incidents of improper behavior, most of the homeless patrons seem to enjoy library benefits without causing any trouble.
Teachers. Yes, teachers, the library is an invaluable resource! During my teaching years, I made weekly trips to check out and return books. Lots of books. I became quite good at gleaning themed picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) for my students. In fact, there was one librarian who watched my shelf and request list so she could make her own book list.
Writers. I fit into several of the above groups, but the writing group is the closest fit. I regularly research different topics and locations around the world. I research picture books and check out stacks of them for my studies. I even haul my computer to the library and set up camp on one of the bigger tables when I need to work on deadlines. Love my library!
Readers. Of course. Why else? Book addicts. Adventurers. Researchers. Learners.
As the plant in the above photo illustrates layers of leaves, stacked and connected by a network of roots, libraries also connect information to people, layers of knowledge spread through the network of libraries – full of words.
I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card. ~ Laura Bush