Monday, April 13, 2009

What can your library do for you?

I go in streaks when seeking out knowledge. For example, I wanted to understand more about organic gardening, how much care a plant needs, how to amend the soil, how to establish a new garden bed, etc. Searching on the web can be a start and blogs may help, but generally, the topic is not addressed in the manner I needed. Only a few of the fruits or veggies I am interested in are mentioned or there are mentions of books without a lot of detail. I like to read more in depth and gain my own perspective on the method or idea.

When I am focused on gaining knowledge, I start with my public library. However, I rarely go to the library itself. It is merely a place to collect the books I am interested in reading. Based on my earlier Web search, I may have found some book titles to read. Doing a search on relevant terms in the online library database also brings up possible resources for me to examine further.

Here is where the library works for me: I request the books to be sent to my local branch when available. I have access to books from several libraries in multiple counties, giving me a larger resource base for the information or books I am seeking. Rather than going to the local library and trying to find books relevant to my information seeking but still not get all I want, I am informed via e-mail when the books I requested are available and take a few minutes once a week to pick up the books in my library. This saves me time spent at the library and can be integrated into other errands in town.

Libraries help save you money by helping decide if a book is worth buying for your own collection as a reference or better off as a singular read. Your property taxes help pay for establishing and maintaining the public library so take advantage of what they can offer. I have requested DVDs of movies and television series. By sitting in the library for an hour or so, I can read up on various cars or appliances I am interested in buying in the near future to compare models, prices and total cost of ownership. I did not pay for an individual subscription and may save myself money when purchasing the product.

Libraries are also great places for social interaction. Most libraries host reading groups and have rooms available for other groups to meet. I attended a meeting about green living there and I know there were monthly gatherings on different topics.

To sum up, libraries are great resources for entertainment, learning, saving money and meeting new people. This can be done on your own schedule by requesting items and picking them up when available at the nearest branch. Searching for DVDs or books can be done in the comfort of your own home and picked up when convenient for you. Or meet people with similar interests and expand your network of contacts. Check out your library's Web site, talk to the librarian or look at the bulletin board in the library to learn what is all available.

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