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How Do I Love My Library: Let ME Count the Ways

Feb 14, 2011

Though many use February 14th to observe Valentine's Day, Australia celebrates another kind of love: that between a nation and her libraries. For several years in Australia the 14th has marked Library Lovers Day, a promotional campaign designed to make citizens aware of these tremendous resources. People all over the world can get into the spirit by taking time to reflect on some of the many advantages provided by their public libraries. Here are a few of them.

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1. Tons of Knowledge

Evidence of libraries has been found as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, where 5000 years ago people decided they needed a repository for their knowledge. That tradition continues today. Other than books, libraries keep current and past editions of newspapers and magazines, movies, audio recordings and other public records, all in one convenient place.

2. Great Selection

Libraries can provide access to almost anything you need to know. Many libraries even partner up with others nearby, so if your library doesn't have what you're looking for, there's a good chance they can have it sent to them from one that does. Besides that, libraries cater to people who don't know exactly what they're looking for. It can be incredibly rewarding to just take a stroll around a library, browsing topics which interest you. You never know what you'll find.

3. Friendly Staff

But let's say you are looking for something in particular, and for whatever reason you can't find it. Well, you're in luck, because libraries are staffed with friendly, passionate individuals who want to help! Librarians tend to take a special interest in their patrons' education and literacy, and that typically leads to stellar service. Just imagine: it's like a big-box store, except the employees want to be there and almost everything's free!

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4. Community Enrichment

Libraries offer more than an impressive selection of reading material. Many also host programs aimed at presenting topics of interest to their community. This might take the form of educational classes or workshops featuring published authors. Generally these are free services, and community members are encouraged to take full advantage.

5. Peace and Quiet

Sometimes you just want somewhere quiet to go read or study. People often turn to public places like coffee shops, but have you ever tried to study in a Starbucks? It can be distracting, to say the least. Libraries provide a safe haven where those seeking some tranquility can go. Think of it as a mini-vacation mere miles from your home.

6. Do You Like Netflix?

If you Google the phrase 'Netflix for books,' you will be simply amazed at the number of people who want this business to exist. If you think about it, though, that's exactly what your library is, except most libraries don't charge a monthly fee: you get unrestricted access just by being a resident of a particular community or by attending a certain school. Everyone talks about how brilliant Netflix's business model is, and rightfully so, but we ought to apply that same appreciation to an institution that's done the same thing for roughly five millennia. Credit where credit's due, right?

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