The Magical Library Card: 10 Perks of Having One
As a child, I remember getting my first library card. It was the only reason I carried a wallet or purse because it was the only “card” I had to keep track of. It didn’t matter that my signature wasn’t legible or that we were going to the grocery store; I needed my card just in case I needed a book.
After working at the library for a short period, I revitalized my love for the library once again. There was so much that had changed since my frequent visits, thanks to updates in technology.
Here are my top 10 reasons you should have a library card:
1. Free eBooks!
The library uses a multitude of options for eBook delivery, whether it's through Libby, OverDrive, iCloud, or ePub sharing. And it is convenient! I use my eReader all the time, and when I found out I can have library books sent to my eReader, I was in heaven. Limitless books from the comfort of my couch.
In addition to eBooks, the library uses a similar delivery method for audiobooks. Audiobooks are expensive, so I used to pay for a subscription to get audiobooks. I loved listening to them while cleaning or driving, and it was handy for non-fiction books. Not only can I get audiobooks digitally, but I can also find them on CD at my library. This is a good option if I am driving a car without a Bluetooth hookup.
Hoopla is another system my library has as a resource. This app has a wide selection of digital graphic novels and comic books. If you think these may be hard to read digitally, you'd be wrong! The app can let you view one panel at a time and guide you through the story seamlessly. This has fueled my comic addiction a little too much.
You may be asking why this is useful. I know many people no longer have DVD players, but I still do! My library has such a great collection to browse. They order new titles too, so I can watch recent releases without paying the premium price. Many of my favorite TV shows and movies are no longer streaming or have never been on streaming platforms, but my library has them!
Many databases are available to library cardholders. If you have your number and your library is connected, you can access a variety of information that is usually behind paywalls.
6. Internet, Computer, and Printer Access
If you don't have a great home office or maybe you have fluctuating internet access, the library provides ways to solve this problem. No printer at home? My local library has printing limits per week for library cardholders. You can print in color or black and white. This printing perk may have different rules at your local location. Just ask.
There is a running joke that librarians know everything. This superpower comes from their understanding of how to research. They are expert information detectives and knowledgeable about general computer questions. They also have some of the best book recommendations as avid readers themselves.
8. Events, Workshops, and Activities
Author conversations, entrepreneur workshops, resume writing, summer reading programs, toddler story times, and more. The library is always organizing events that serve and enrich their communities. During the summertime, I used to take my younger siblings to the video game days and movie nights just so they could do something fun and free.
9. They Take Suggestions!
Many libraries accept book suggestions. If there is an author with a new release you want to read or maybe a book you don't see in their collection, then you can suggest it. My library allows for so many suggestions a month. Other libraries may only allow one or two a year. If it is not out of print, you may soon see that book suggestion on the shelf!
10. Book Recommendations
I miss this so much from working at the library. Amazing book recommendations! Everyone has different tastes, but there is usually someone at the library who is familiar with the genre you like to read. I enjoy perusing the "staff recommendations" section. They only put their favorites out, and if I see a staff person who has similar reading interests as mine, I may look for their name the next time I'm checking out a staff pick.
Not all libraries have the same resources as my library system and may not offer all ten of the things I've listed. If you are interested, check out your local library's website or talk to them in person about what they do offer!