The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I have always been a huge fan of libraries since I was a kid. My family used to make it an excuse to get out of the house on the weekends, and I saw it as embarking on a journey to find the next world I could travel to. Once in a library, I would disappear into the shelves, picking up books like I was going window shopping, and would read the synopsis on the back to see if I was interested.
This hobby grew into more of an obsession, as once I got into school I would spend many lunch breaks in the library, asking the librarian for recommendations, and I would sit in the library after school, reading while I waited for my parents to pick me up. Thus, I’ve always had a personal connection to libraries as being a safe haven for wild adventures.
That is, until 2020, when my favorite library (yes, I do have a favorite) had to go from walk-in availability to online holds only, and I felt like I lost a good friend. To me, the magic of a library comes from browsing the shelves in person, not online like shopping. Over the pandemic, I had to get used to buying books online, as I wasn’t able to go into the library anymore, and it got me thinking about what specifically I missed about being in a library. In my opinion, I think libraries are kind of underrated, and here are some of my favorite things about being in a library, and why you should visit:
Access to Books and other Resources
Though libraries are known for their book lending services, they can also provide access to a lot of other resources, such as free computers and movie rentals. Computer access has been especially important given that with the pandemic most things have shifted online, and movie rentals could be fun for a night with your friends.
Builds a sense of community
I am an introvert, which means that typically I’d love nothing more than to be at home, curled up with a hot chocolate and a good sci-fi novel. However, libraries provide a communal place to get out of my comfort zone and meet like minded people. One example is that at some libraries they often host book clubs, which provide an outlet for people to meet fellow bookworms and discuss books, which is different from the isolating experience of just solo reading. They also host different events, so those also can help you branch out.
Quiet Study Place (Need I say more?)
This is probably the most common use for college campus libraries; I’m sure you’re aware of the librarian “shh” stereotype but a library is a great place to study. Most libraries have carrels where you can set up your laptop and take notes, and as I mentioned earlier, most libraries have computers that you can use to print out assignments.
Additionally, they have study rooms you can rent out to study with friends, or you can even rent textbooks for several hours to help you finish homework. In summary, libraries are a vital part of being a student, but a public library is just as useful too.
Whether you like to visit a library as a bookworm or as a college student, libraries are really underrated as a good resource for books, media, and overall just connecting with others. Plus, getting a library card is free, so if you haven’t already, go visit a library and pick up a new adventure to embark on.