Why Libraries Matter

I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages, but found it hard to start, because of course libraries matter, ISN’T THAT OBVIOUS?! Yet, a lot of the time libraries seem to go under the radar… or worse, when they do get attention, it’s for terrible reasons (ie experiencing ruthless cuts). But working in a library during the pandemic has made me acutely aware of just how vital libraries are. Seeing how much people have missed being inside and feeling that spark of joy being back, I understand more than ever why libraries matter so much. And it’ll be my pleasure to share some of those reasons with you now!  

#1 Libraries are a hub for the community. Anyone can join the library and use its resources. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re there for- everyone’s welcome 😊 The are a beautiful (bookish) sanctuary from the outside world! Which is especially useful for shy bookworms 😉

#2 They provide place to work. Granted, this has not been quite the same for a lot of libraries in the last year, but libraries generally provide study space, wifi and computer access- all of which is so important if you’re from a low-income background or struggling to find room to work. I know this was really significant to me as a teen and a young adult. Libraries make such a difference for so many people.

#3 FREE BOOKS! I mean, you knew I was going to put this in here, didn’t you? 😉 Because what is better than free books?! I know I could never feed my bookish addiction without the library. Every year the number of books I borrow goes up. And it’s looking like the same is true for everyone that’s been borrowing at a rate of knots during the pandemic. Plus, it’s not just a great idea to borrow for leisure, because there are plenty of educational books too! You can learn about everything from knitting to ancient Chinese philosophy to law!

#4 Oh, and while we’re on the topic, there are other free resources. With a library card, you can get access to online resources like Borrowbox, Libby/Overdrive and more! You can also get access to online subscriptions (like Which) and a whole host of other things. Personally, I’ve missed out on these in the past, because I didn’t know they were there… so if in doubt, just ask! (Particularly in the pandemic, when libraries have been offering freebies like lending DVDs).  

#5 They provide fun activities– particularly for children. Obviously, this has been scaled back and mostly online because of that thing-that-happened-in-2020-which-we-won’t-talk-about. BUT these are due to come back with a vengeance soooo watch this space (/check your library website 😉)

#6 Finally, and my personal favourite, you can get ideas about what books you might want to read! Lots of library staff can tell you what’s new, what’s exciting and what you might like based on your taste. One of the biggest perks of the job for me is finding books that readers will love- I always enjoy this question- and actually wish more people would ask!!

And that’s all I have for now! Though I’m sure there are plenty more reasons I missed! What do you think? Are libraries important to you? And why? Let me know in the comments!

83 thoughts on “Why Libraries Matter

  1. The expectations for public and school libraries is so much more than just books. They do meaningful programming for kids and adults, and provide resources and technology too. I remember out school librarian teaching the kids how to use online databases for research and all other sorts of stuff.

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  2. Amazing post! My local library doesn’t give me much option. I had to pay for membership (it’s not much for lifetime membership but still) and I only get most popular books. Sometimes there aren’t even complete series, not because someone might have checked it out but because they are missing and haven’t been replaced. Also librarians aren’t really helpful when I ask things. It would take lots of work for Indian libraries to make readers happy and keep coming back.

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  3. Omg yes, all of this! I haven’t been to ours in a few years now because I can’t get to it currently but I’m itching to go in and borrow some books! The selection isn’t always amazing in my particularly genres but it’s great when they do have something you want to read.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This was an amazing post! Of course that libraries matter. I have always known it, but ever since I found out how many resources they actually offer to the community besides the perk of having free books and a good study space, was when I learned just how much of a treasure they are. Sadly, here in my country we don’t have public libraries, but I hope that someday I can live somewhere close to one and see by myself all the wonderful things it has to offer.

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  5. Joining the local library is one of the first things I do whenever I move somewhere new, it always helps me to feel like I belong to the local community. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child so we spent a lot of time at the library and I loved having access to so many books.

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  6. It’s not so evident for a digital nomad to get a membership of a library. Sometimes I can’t even access a local library without a membership card an those are reserved for residents of that particular place. And the online services and website of the library at my home town aren’t very adequate. So I live mainly a life without library access. It’s a kind of frustrating for someone who has been a librarian by himself (I used to work in the acquisitions department).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh that’s a pity- are you from the US? Libraries in the UK usually let you join regardless of where you live, as long as you show proof of address (which is really helpful in places like London where you can work quite far from where you live/gives greater access to online resources). I think they should be more accessible. And that’s not good either. It sounds frustrating

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just stopping by to say that most U.S. libraries do require you to live in their service area to get a card–otherwise you have to pay an annual membership fee (often equivalent to the tax dollars paid by residents, I believe). However, some (all? I’m not sure) states do have a state library, which any resident of that particular state can use. You can typically apply online for the state library card and then use it to check out ebooks (or physical books if you actually live close to the state library). I would try to do an online search for the state library and see what their card policies are. You could also ask the local librarians, but my experience is that I am usually the one telling my local librarians about the state library, so that might be helpful, or not.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. At least most US libraries let you in without showing a card. And paying for a year membership for the couple of weeks or months I will be hanging around, isn’t really worth it. Better to buy, to rely on kindle unlimited, Wikipedia, or my own portable library.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. My 5 year old was recently diagnosed with diabetes type 1, the one caused by an autoimmune issue. No one else in thr family has it and he’s really self-conscious about it. At our last library trip the librarian offered a lollipop to him. I quietly reminded him that we’d need to wait and give him an insulin shot for it. He handed me the candy and muttered something about hating diabetes. The librarian overheard and said that he is also diabetic. Then he complimented my 5v year old on his med ID bracelet. My little guy left with an armful of books, a lollipop for later, and a spring in his step. That librarian made his new diagnosis feel less lonely.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Lovely post! I think libraries are so important, and you provide so many good reason! I see them also as a community hub — at our little neighborhood branch, I see lots of group gatherings, either for library-sponsored events or because they have a nice outdoor space that is perfect for tai chi classes. Plus, our branch is right next door to a middle school, so during the school year, it becomes a safe place for students after school. And really, I just love to wander in and visit all those books on all those shelves!!

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  9. I agree! And it seems as if most people at least generally agree libraries matter, yet when it comes to funding they suddenly get overlooked and told to just keep doing all the same things but with no money and with barely paying the employees. I tangentially know someone who quit a job in publishing and is going to get a degree in library science and was just like . . . uh, if she’s changing careers due to being underpaid and overworked, I have bad news.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes I know what you mean :/ people love to support libraries… Until it comes to actually supporting libraries. Hahaha oh dear- while I encourage that career move, because there are some big upsides to the job, I wouldn’t do it to avoid being underpaid and overworked.

      Like

  10. Probably half my reading is from the library online now! I used to work in libraries, I totally agree with it all. At their most basic they are also one of the very few places for people to go that’s indoors and that they don’t need to pay to use.

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  11. Do they matter – absolutely. Sadly that view doesn’t seem to be shared by local politicians in the UK who see them as just a costly service that they are not obliged by law to offer. But they don’t want to risk the wrath of citizens by closing them – they just come up with a wheeze which tells the community that unless they step forward to run their local branch, it will close. Moral blackmail…

    Liked by 4 people

  12. yes yes yes to this!! i adored my school library soooo much growing up. all through elementary, high school, & college, each one introduced me to books that have become lifelong favourites, or books that i will now buy to have my own copy because i enjoyed them so much. i ~finally~ got a library card for the local branches & it was the best decision everrrrr. i missed utilising libraries; they are truly magical places x

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  13. You are preaching to the choir with this post. Libraries have been ultra important to me my whole life. As an only child they were my ‘happy place’ and my solace. As an adult they employed me for many decades.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Absolutely agree with all of this, and I would add, even though you could never buy all the books you would check out of the library, libraries CAN lead to sales for authors – eventually – when you discover an author you love … or the library has some books in a series but not all (ahem) …

    Also … *public bathrooms.* “But you can’t just come into the library to use it as a public bathroom and then not use it as an actual library!” Ha ha, silly … I would never do that!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes and also authors get a small amount when people borrow their books (in the UK and Canada at least, don’t know about the US).

      Hahahaha! Oh don’t worry, that’s how we hook unsuspecting people who just need to come in for the toilet and WiFi… They will leave with a library card and a stack of books if I have anything to do with it! 😉😂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Library is always home to readers! I developed my passion for reading from the school library. For higher studies again libraries were my go to. But now with technological advent the relevance of libraries have lessened a lot. But my love for libraries would never die out. The entire ambience of it just quenches the thirst of a reader.
    Those days I spent with my friends cracking jokes and giggling over it..and the librarian yelling at us… silence!!!😉. Always so much of fond memories associated with libraries.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes absolutely! I really relate! I can understand that- although technology also made me circle back to libraries because of apps like Libby and borrowbox! Yes!! Totally get what you mean 😃
      Hahaha I relate to that as well lol 😂 though not with every librarian

      Like

  16. So happy to see this post! Libraries used to get a lot of love in the book blogosphere back in the day. Now I see a lot of comments about how libraries aren’t that good, not everyone has a library so we should just stop talking about them, and so forth. It almost seems controversial to suggest that a thriving community library is something we should and COULD strive for. I’m not saying libraries are perfect–most aren’t (often because of a lack of funding/support). But I see a lack of libraries/ a lack of good libraries not as things that mean we should shush about the libraries, but as things that we can proactively work to change. Because it’s worth it to have a good library. They are truly supports for the community.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! Oh yeah I’ve seen some of that. But while I do understand some of that, I obviously don’t think that promoting libraries should be controversial! And I also think that if we see it that way, we won’t go in the direction of getting more people access and improving things, it’ll just deprive more people! (It’s not like people in govt are looking to fund libraries more!) Absolutely!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love my library! It’s really hard to beat free books. And I love your last point too. I never used the library for recommendations but during the pandemic they started a program where you entered some info about your tastes and they picked out 5 books for you that you could pickup curbside. It was wonderful and I got some great books! I hope they keep it going.

    Liked by 2 people

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