Don’t we all just adore public libraries? The old buildings, the selection, the smell of aging books. It’s a deeply comforting environment, and then when you leave, you can take books with you! They’re warm in the winter, they’re just about everywhere, and they’re full of possibilities. What can we do to give back a little?
Check Out Books
Image via Mother Nature Network
And really, how can you help yourself? I walk into the library thinking I’ll just take a look around, but I always leave with more books than I can carry. If it’s bad weather or you don’t feel like going outside, you can get ebooks and audiobooks online from many library systems. It lets the government know people use the libraries, which helps them get funding!
Go To Events
Image via London Library
Libraries have all kinds of events. Reading days, movie nights, classes and workshops. Want to watch an old horror movie, or learn excel, or meet an author? Check your library’s calendar of events and go to anything that seems interesting. Plus, it’ll make you cool! See above for how it helps.
Image via UCLA
Need a particular book or a book on a particular topic? You can also just ASK a librarian about upcoming events. Library use and attendance effect library funding, but so does engagement like asking questions. As long as it’s not too busy, ask for info or where a section or book is. Again, they take note of this to prove people use libraries.
Ask for Library Funding
Image via New York Public Library
I can’t find an example, but I swear sometimes, when you go into your library, there are forms and petitions you can sign or fill out and mail or give to the librarians, saying libraries are useful and important, to show they’re needed and necessary. Ask your librarian if you don’t see anything! You can also do stuff like this yourself, but you know, if you’re there.
Spread the Word
Image via Quote Fancy
So true story, I got (lightly) bullied in highschool for reading LIBRARY books in the hallway, like that something for OLD people, but I still rep the library whenever I can. I find it especially ridiculous when people want to buy ebooks they don’t even know if they’ll like! I mean, buy books, but support the library too! Tell your friends.
Start a Book Club
Image via Houston Public Library
This is also something that get stereotyped as not for cool kids, but what’s cooler than sharing books you love with your friends and then all talking about it, and learning their favorites? It’s cool stuff, it’s a great way to get exposure to new books and new genres you may never read otherwise. Plus, you can all check out the books, and maybe even meet at the library!
Image via Reading Public Library
It seems obvious, but libraries always need volunteers! If you’ve got anything like time, fill out an application to volunteer, or go in person and ask what you can do. Some libraries also need teachers to run internet and literacy classes, or even just to read aloud to kids. But there’s lots to be done! If you have actual real life skills, you can probably put them to use.
Buy Library Merch
Image via Brooklyn Public Library
Book nerd, but make it fashion. Okay, this photo has shirts, but there’s lots of stuff you can get from library stores! Totes, magnets, whatever you can think of, and all library themed! I get into trouble in museum stores, but library stores? Please. You’re going to have to DRAG me away. Not every library has a store, but most systems have them, so look it up ahead of time.
Image via Events Time
Libraries also sell books sometimes! These are either old library copies which have been replaced or rendered obsolete, or they’re books people have donated, most of which aren’t really suitable for adding to the catalog, for whatever reason. But you can buy them! And the money supports the library. You can also donate to these kinds of sales.
Image via Phoenix Public Library
Obviously, if you can, just actually donating helps a great deal. You can become a contributing member with a regular donation, or just give once. If you’re going to do the latter, wait until someone’s matching (many companies and organizations do this) so that your donation is used to the absolute best effect, no matter what you can actually give.
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Featured image via Smithsonian Magazine