When I was a kid I didn’t get to go to the library often. Sure we had a kid-centric one in my elementary school but rarely did I go to the public library. Living out in the country there were things that I didn’t get to do very often just by the fact that I needed to be driven 10 minutes in and 10 minutes out.
The library in my hometown was beautiful. As you walked in it opened up into a grand area with amazingly tall ceilings and the room stretched way back. If you needed to walk from one end to the other it felt like the room just kept going (maybe that was just because I was a little overweight kid).
My mom would bring me there to pick up kids books to read or if she had extra time I could go and play on the internet. Back in the days of floppy disks, we didn’t have internet way out in our parts (didn’t help to have a computer that could access said internet either).
Falling Out Of Love
Once I got to middle school and high school the library became a dreaded place to do research for the endless papers they made us write (ignore the fact I write for fun now). College put the nail in the coffin (that library was creepy too).
I didn’t see much of a use other than painfully reading boring books about… to be perfectly honest I don’t recall a single topic I researched back then.
I no longer saw the need for a library. I didn’t need to go there just to be on the internet. The iPod Touch in my pocket could get online and I was too busy with homework and video games to read for fun (yeah…those were the reasons).
Re-kindling The Love (LOL get it?!)
It wasn’t until Ms. Blue Ribbon and I moved to the Twin Cities before I got my first public library card since elementary school. I don’t know why I was excited about it but I was. Perhaps it was because of the excitement Ms. Blue Ribbon had.
I didn’t know what I was going to use mine for, but I knew it was a good thing to have. Ms. Blue Ribbon needed hers to check out books for kid-related things for the classroom. Being the person that I am, I started poking around on their website. This is when all hell broke loose.
Tumbling Down The Rabbit Hole
There are so many things a library can do that few realize it does. Besides getting physical books, you can get ebooks on most of your favorite platforms. My list of books to borrow was longer than our Netflix queue.
A weird pattern began to emerge where that if I borrowed a book from the library I was more likely to finish the book than if I bought it. I had no shortage of purchased books on our bookshelf collecting dust (you know before our minimalism).
We also had movies on our waitlist. There were waiting lists for movies that were still in the theater. If you are willing to wait you can get the movie from the library for free. Our days of Redbox coupon code hunting were done!
Won’t Someone Please Think Of The Children?
Enter Mini Donut and his bizarre appetite for books (pretty sure we have read him more books than I ever read before he was born). We have inherited so many books from our parents and been gifted so many since his and Babe’s births. Each kid has their own bookshelves completely filled. Thanks to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program they get a new book every month. All of which doesn’t stop us from picking up more books for Mini Donut at the library which helps us try out books to determine if we want to add them to our own collection.
It doesn’t stop there because when Ms. Blue Ribbon stayed home with Mini Donut they would go to kids story hour. MD could go and listen to a story, play with other kids, and Ms. Blue Ribbon could get out of the house. After the storytime, he could play in the kid’s section and pick out books to bring home. It was also a time for Ms. Blue Ribbon to have some much-needed adult interaction and a way for her to get to know other Moms in the community.
Prepare To Be Blown Away
I follow the Hennepin County Library on Twitter and once in awhile they tweet about something you never would expect a library to offer as a service. (They call it “Things you can do with your #librarycard No.”)
If you live in the Twin Cities area please check these out. If you don’t, don’t be discouraged! Email or tweet your library and they likely provide some of these services or maybe even cooler ones.
Here are some of the awesome services:
- Homework help
- K-12 students can get free tutoring online or at the library.
- Don’t have time to read? You can even get audio books from the cloud library.
- Other Languages!
- If English isn’t your primary language they have lots of books in other languages including Somali, Russian, Spanish, and many more.
- Digital Magazines
- Want to read magazines without paying the subscriptions? You can check out magazines from your phone or computer.
- Consumer Reports Reviews
- Get access to all the Consumer Reports issues dating back to 1985! You can even search within in the issues if you are looking for a certain product.
- Star Tribune paper
- This is the local paper and you can search through their old publications from 1986 to the current day.
- Standardized Test Prep
- Need help with the GED, SAT, or ACT? You can get online tutorials and practice tests.
- Free Music
- Listen and download the latest music.
- MN Spin
- Free Minnesota artist’s music.
- Stream Movies
- While many of them aren’t big blockbuster hits you can still stream movies right to your computer.
Perhaps the coolest thing of all is we can get free or discounted tickets to lots of great places in the area just for having a library card. This includes awesome places like the Children’s Museum and Institute of Art.
If you are in the Twin Cities area and don’t have a library card go to their website and get yours today.
Big thank you to the Hennepin County Library for helping with today’s post.
How often do you go to your library? Do they have any interesting features you wouldn’t expect?