Should Libraries Stay Open?Offbeat

When was the last time you checked out a book from the library? Individuals debate that the age of the library/books is drawing to an end and the technology age is taking over. These individuals might not have entered a library in several years. My public library has been innovative and versatile in its quest to join the technology age. During the last several years, I have learned how to knit, watched movies, played video games, listened to audiobooks, listened to live concerts, learned Chi Gong, and more all for free and through my public library. I encourage all individuals to visit their local library or a large branch nearby and see for yourself the changes.


10 Free Ways to Utilize the Public Library

1. Visit a Museum

My library allows patrons to reserve museum passes for 2-8 people depending on museum location. Some of the passes even cover parking and special events. Thus far, I have visited a garden/museum on Long Island and have plans to visit the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Long Island Children’s Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Nassau County Museum of Art, and the New York Botanical Garden.


2. No Internet Access? No Problem


Imagine my dismay when my laptop screen broke. I could barely read my work through the black screen. Thankfully, the library had several internet access computers available for use. When my laptop was repaired, I still visited the library for its strong wireless internet signal and quiet atmosphere.


3. Free Video Games

When I purchased my Wii, I had no idea games would sometimes cost up to 60 dollars; almost as expensive as Xbox games. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out my library had Wii, Xbox, and Playstation games available for rent. I was even more surprised to find out the games were new.


4. Free Ebooks/Podcasts

If you have an MP3 player, PC, MAC, Tablet, or eReader, you are in luck. The library has thousands of digital downloads available. Depending on your prefered device, all that is needed is: Wi-Fi, a Library Card, and space to download the program and/or apps. When a popular book is on hold at the library, I bypass the wait and download it.


5. Out of Work?

Career coaching programs are available at my library for those who need interview tips, resume help, computer lessons, and access to employment databases. This is a great resource for all those looking for work or guidance.


6. Exhibits

If you don’t have time to reserve a museum pass and to travel to different locations, just stay at the library. My library often has art exhibits for display. This is a great way to view things without traveling the distance. Sometimes there are meet and greets available.


7. Outreach

The elderly are not left out when it comes to library events. If you have an elderly relative that wants to check out a book, find out if your library offers free delivery service to those with physical disabilities. Those with visual or hearing impairments can utilize the Closed Circuit Television Magnifier, Teletype Machine, and talking books with playback machines.


8. Entertainment

The library has the latest movies available for rent and for viewing. After you check out your books, head on down to the conference rooms and watch a movie, listen to a concert, join a book discussion, meet an author, or even learn how to salsa/ballroom dance.


9. Exercise for Less

I took 6 Chi Gong classes for 15 dollars at my library and each class was 60 minutes long, I’m not a math person, but that is less than 3 dollars a class. Try and find a lower price on yoga or aerobics classes.


10. Support

After purchasing books for a low price at the annual book sale, I stumbled upon a knitting class. I found out that every week people came to the library to knit, sew, crochet, etc and it was free! I learned the basics of knitting in no time. I also learned that the library had weekly meet-ups for new mothers, people who needed defensive driving lessons, those who needed to learn how to use a camera, story time for tots, and more. The best part of these programs: you can always request to have something at the library. Because of the patrons and funds, the library is able to continue to provide free programs.

These are just a brief overview of what could be available at your library. It feels like every month, I discover something new. Visit your public library today or visit the website to find out what hidden gems your community has to offer.

So, what do you think? Should Public Libraries stay open?



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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