Library Love:: Why We Still Need Libraries in Modern Times

It’s the year 2021.

Weren’t we all supposed to be driving flying cars and using hoverboards by now?

But, seriously though…If there is something that surprises me, a millennial, about how technology has changed in the last 30 years or so, it’s simply how available information is now.

Growing up, at my house we had a few medical encyclopedias and of course, the big Britannica encyclopedia set. I’m about to be 36 years old, and I remember looking things up by the Dewey Decimal system at both my school and public libraries.

 I also remember a teacher not allowing any internet sources on a research paper I wrote when I was a sophomore in high school. That one makes me feel pretty old, actually. 

Now, I own a device that could fit an infinite amount of encyclopedic information and fits in the palm of my hand and is basically on me at all times. You are probably reading this very blog post on such a device right now.

So, are libraries still relevant? In 2021?

You bet they are.

And you’ve picked just the right nerd {happy to own my enthusiasm!} to tell you why.

If you’re a parent, a library is basically the hidden gem of freebies. Who doesn’t love a freebie?!

My local library hosts an EPIC free story time every week {well, in non-pandemic times anyway}:: I’m talking songs, dancing, books being read, a puppet show AND a craft! Seriously!

Oh, and they let the kids choose a colored carpet square when they walk in to sit on AND sometimes there are scarves or shakers the kids can use with the songs. It’s seriously the best!

Our library does a toddler time and a preschool time. I heart the crafts they provide {Ps– so do my kiddos!}

Worth noting:: I have been able to pick up “to go” story time craft kits for my kids during the pandemic. Definitely worth inquiring about with your local library because we can all use more tools in our mom toolbelts these days!

My local library also has a toy area, most notably with some fairly impressive puppets. The toy selection is not huge {puzzles, DUPLOs, a few large dinosaur figures} but enough to keep my kids’ attention spans for quite a while on a rainy or too-hot-to-play-outside day. Yet another offering to get out of the house and change up our scenery—for free.

Also, my library has toys you can check out to take home. I have not taken advantage of this {my house is overflowing with my kids’ toys already, thank you very much} but what an awesome idea.

Libraries are host to local cultural events. Demonstrations or craft how-to DIY talks, speeches, concerts, book clubs, ESL conversation circles, computer classes, and more can be found at the library. Again, thanks to COVID most have been postponed or moved virtually for now. Check out your local library’s website  or Facebook page:: I guarantee there are some very cool online events happening you may not even know about!

My kids and I have attended a free children’s theater production and a Chinese New Year celebration, complete with dragon dancers and drums, at my library. I have not yet attended concerts and the like but they are there, just waiting for us to go!

One of my family’s last preCOVID outings was a Chinese New Year celebration at our library in February of 2020. It was an awesome {free} event!

I am an avid reader and 95% of what I read are library books. Since the pandemic started, I have started using Overdrive and the Libby app for ebooks from my library. Most “hot” titles have a wait {sometimes up to 20 weeks—the horror! It’s torture!} but it’s a treat to get that notice it’s finally available.

I have also been more open to reading outside my comfort zone since I began reading this way. It’s easy to search any genre or topic or just browse my librarian’s picks right from my Libby app! I get my ebooks delivered directly from the app to my kindle and VOILA! Magic.

I actually love the two week deadline for most library books, even ebooks. It forces me to  prioritize my reading based on when something will be returned and I love how that holds me accountable to reading every day.

Libraries just make my life…better.

Oh, and did I mention all of this is free?

Yeah. Libraries are still relevant.

And I hope they always will be.

There are so few places in society where we can just exist. Without any expectations of spending money. Without any expectations of making small talk. Without any expectations at all, other than to pause. To enjoy art and humanity.

And books. Lots, and lots of books.

My happy place

For me personally, I miss going to the library. It’s one of the day-to-day things I definitely took a bit more for granted before COVID.

Books have always been my favorite travel ticket, taking me to other times and places, even {especially!} in this long year where I’ve had to stay still.

I look forward to someday browsing the stacks, flipping through pages, TOUCHING everything again. But until that day…I’m so thankful that technology keeps libraries relevant even during a global pandemic.

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