This upcoming week is National Library Week!! It is a week to celebrate and appreciate the contributions of libraries and librarians. You may not have noticed, gentle reader, that we Carruths love.the.library. We are at the library at least once a week for one reason or another. So, in honor of National Library Week, I thought I would tell you 7 things we love about our library.
1. It’s Free! — Let’s just start with the obvious. Books are expensive and we read a lot of them. I can’t drop $23 on a book I may not even like or read again each time I want a new book. I think Dave Ramsey would agree. Checking out books from the library is a risk free way to try new books and series. Evangeline has her own card now and loves picking out a new stack of books each week. She’s a kid who gets it — don’t over think, just check it out!
2. Inter-Library Loans — Between the 14 library branch locations in East Baton Rouge Parish, we’re able to find almost anything we want. But when I want some obscure, out-of-print Nero Wolfe mystery, or Ryan needs the original Sanskrit writings of some forgotten Desert Father, we can request an Inter-Library Loan. Most often our university or state library has what we want, but we’ve gotten books from the opposite side of the country before. Not only do you get the book you want, you get an overly sentimental connection to library users everywhere.
4. Beautiful Libraries — Ours is a love it-or hate it kind of city, I’m afraid. There are many complaints including poor city planning and butt-ugly 1970’s and 80’s architecture. The parish recently undertook to rebuild our main library. But! They made it gorgeous! They used “green” designs and materials! They are expanding the complex to include the already existing park and botanical gardens and adding offices, meeting spaces and a cafe! It’s a major project, but already the benefits are exciting. The library building, which is open now, won regional design awards in 2014. It’s poised to be a beautiful spot in the city available to anyone, and it’s not a shopping center!
(photo source: Mark Bienvenu Photographer )
3. Digital Resources — I recently introduced Ryan to the vast resources available though our “Digital Library”. I’ve been using our library’s Overdrive account for a year or more to listen to audiobooks (see Ode to the Audio Book.) But there’s a lot more out there than just audio and e-books. There are movies, music, operas and symphonies, news sources, magazines, genealogy sources, foreign language courses and a whole lot of I-don’t-know-what-all else. In an age where the printed page is coming under attack, libraries are getting ahead of the fight and offering many more resources online.
5. Paintings — One day at the library, Ryan noticed a large print of The Lady of Shalott. His eyes widened, he pointed and said “I want that”. We brought it home and hung it above our piano, in the kids play \ home-school room. We really enjoyed having it, so we decided to rotate new pictures into that spot. The kids help pick out what we get and it gets to hang in our house for 6 weeks. We get a changing decoration and it gives us the chance to look at art we otherwise may not get to see.
6. The Children’s Section– Our kids love going into the children’s section. In addition to, well, BOOKS!, there are toys, coloring pages and computers available all the time. Nearly each week in the summer, the girls get to go with their Nana to story time. And when I can muster up the energy, we go to different programs during the week. I remember going to story time at the library when I was young and I’m excited that my kids now get to make those same memories, at the same library no less! All of which brings me to my last point.
7. Family Ties– We are a big-ish family with a small-ish budget. Going to the library is a way for us to spend time together enjoying the same things without spending money. I like knowing that the library will be a part of our kids’ childhoods. More than that, though, I hope they notice how nerdy their parents are. Ryan and I relish reading. We love learning. We love talking to each other about what we’re reading and learning (and writing blog posts…). By spending time as a family at the library, I hope our kids grow up appreciating intellectual curiosity. I hope our love of learning ties us closer as a family. Even though we may read different books and be interested in different areas, we can still talk about what we checked out from the library.