Why I Love My Public Library

Toronto Public Library, Pleasant View branch

Figure 1: Attribution: By Brad Fonseca (Own work)

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I love books. Every year, I challenge myself to read a certain number of books. This year, I’m aiming at 25 books. While I love owning books, I am a heavy user of my local library and my city’s library system. You could say that I’m library people. I thought it would be good to write a little something on the importance of the library and all the services it provides to everyone, no matter your background or your income level. I’m going to speak specifically about my local library system but most of what I’m saying will apply to any library.

As a kid, I used to think each branch of the library was a separate entity. Later, I realized that when you access your local branch of your library you actually are able to to access the entire system! If a book exists somewhere at a branch of your library, you can have it delivered to your local branch free of charge! This fact changed the way I purchase books. If it’s a title that I’m merely curious about I borrow it from the library. If it’s awesome, I can buy it. In fact, my library has a retail affiliate program that allows me buy a book with a portion of the sale being donated back to the library. I try to buy all my books that way.

The library not only has books to borrow. You can get music and movies too, often in multiple languages or from foreign sources. As well, you can now get access to magazines and books in electronic format. The only drawback is you might have to wait for something to become available. However, since most reading material is available in at least a couple formats, you often can get an item in another way if your original option is not available.

The library is some much more than just reading material! You have access to classes, lectures, and clubs. These are often available for no charge to you! I belong to my local branch’s book club. Also, I learned how to use a 3D printer via a free seminar. You can also book a session with a librarian if you need help researching a topic or if you just want to learn how to better use the library.

The main reason I think the library is such a useful institution is that everyone has access. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. The library is a service you can use. Its buildings provide a quiet, temperature-controlled environment that you are encouraged to just hang out in. No one is going to ask you to leave because you’ve “stayed too long”. Try doing that at your local food court!

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can discover at the library. However, like every public resource, the library is under attack by those in government who prefer tax cuts to providing services. I encourage you to discover the library and see what you can do to help support such a wonderful community service.


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One comment

  1. […] It’s been more than six months since I’ve put up a post on this blog. Let’s take a look at that, shall […]

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