I recently had a conversation with a stranger I met while on vacation. At some point he asked what I do for a living. When I told him I work for a library, he responded with this question:
"Do people still use those?"
I can't tell you how many times I've heard some variation of this question. And I totally get it. After all, it's 2022. When so many of us have access to all the information we could possibly want at our fingertips, what use is there for a building full of old books?*
Well friend, I'm glad you asked.
Here are my top 5 reasons to get a library card.
#1 - Library books are FREE!
This seems like a given, but seriously, books are SO expensive these days. Unless it's a book that you love and know you'll read again and again, why spend money on it when you can get it for zero dollars from your local library?
(And if you really want a book to keep, you can always check out the free shelf in our lobby!)
#2 - Libraries offer community connection.
Libraries are one of the few places where people can stay all day without having to pay a dime. (And many of them offer Wi-Fi!) As a result, patrons of all demographics come in and out of our doors. We also offer free programming for people of all ages and interests, including but not limited to:
If you're looking for something fun and free to do, are interested in getting to know your neighbors, or just need a (mostly) quiet space to hang out for a couple of hours, visit your local library!
#3 - Libraries provide resources you can't find anywhere else.
It's a common misconception that libraries "only" offer books. Here are a few of the other physical items available for borrowing from Avon Grove Library:
Other libraries in our system offer video games, museum passes, and even cake pans! Plus, there are a ton of free online databases and other electronic resources available 24/7 via our library's website. Whether you're looking to learn a new language, change careers, do research for a school project, learn more about your ancestry, or browse digital magazines, the library is the place to go. (And you can access most of them from home!)
#4 - Libraries have eBooks, too!
Have you heard about Libby? It's a free app that gives you access to your library's eBook collection. Many people don't realize that libraries have kept up with the times and started offering eBooks and eAudiobooks to their patrons. Some libraries (like ours) even have their own app that lets you carry a digital library card in case you forget yours!
And the best part about eBooks from the library? Just like print books, they're completely FREE to borrow. Libby even has automatic returns, so you never have to worry about late fees!
Move over, Audible: there's a new sheriff in town, and her name is Libby.
#5 - Library staff are awesome.
Maybe I'm a little biased here, but I happen to think people who work for libraries are pretty great. For one thing, they usually enjoy reading, and their jobs often require them to be in-the-know about the latest books and reading trends. Both of these qualities make library staff a great resource for when you need a book recommendation or just want someone to talk books with. They are also more than happy to assist patrons with things like finding community resources or gathering materials for research.
(And speaking of libraries staying relevant, some library workers even make fun TikToks ;) )
So there you have it: five reasons to sign up for a library card in 2022. Can you think of any others? Comment them below, then go pay a visit to your local library!
*P.S. The idea that libraries only have old books is a common misconception. Most libraries keep their collections as up-to-date as possible so their patrons have access to the latest reads! If it's a brand new book or super popular, however, you just may have to patiently wait your turn :)
Kati Davis has been working for Avon Grove Library for over five years. Some of her favorite books are The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (who she had the opportunity to meet in college!) Kati loves cats, bubble tea, and graphic novels. One of her favorite parts of her job is running the library's social media accounts. She especially enjoys making TikToks and Instagram Reels for the library!