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why You Need to Get a Library Card and Go to the Library If You Have not Already

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Even though I’m slightly biased as a future English teacher and book nerd, I do believe everyone should get a library card! Whether you’re a college student or not, there is always a need to have access to online materials. Libraries are a great public resource that you need to be using if you’re not already. Here are a few reasons why you need a library card and should go to your local library if you don’t already

Accessible books, media and materials

It is so crucial to have access to reading materials, especially as a college student. Even if you don’t need resources for college courses, you may need them for job preparations and training. Additionally, you may simply just want to be able to read and learn about topics that are of interest to you. One of the best ways to learn is to explore things you are passionate about. Spending time at a library is the best way to find tools to help you learn.

Libraries are local

One of the coolest things about libraries is that there are SO many out there. While there may not be a complete academic library near you, there is a public library nearby to you. Near Illinois State University, there is the Normal Public Library and the Bloomington Public Library. And on campus, we have Milner Library, which is available to ISU students to help assist students, faculty and staff in their research and studies.

Libraries are meant to be collections of materials, media and books that all can be used for your own purposes. That means digital or physical location itself as well. You can find a library location that works best for your needs. I love going to Milner to study and read, but in terms of getting physical books, I love going to the Normal Public Library.

Online resources

Not only can you search and browse materials online, but often you can find books that have digital access – meaning you can read the text online. Also, you can request interlibrary loans which are the BEST thing ever! Essentially, an interlibrary loan is when your home library (the library you have a card from) can request a book/material from another library for your usage, even if you don’t have a card at that location. I have used this time and time again at the Normal Public Library this semester. I saved money on my textbooks by requesting my literature novels from NPL, and all I had to do was pick them up and check them out once they arrived. And, hey, if you aren’t someone who wants to do it digitally, you don’t have to, but I found this to be extremely helpful, particularly when looking for a specific book/material. You can always walk around the library, skimming the shelves for a cover/binding that stands out to you. I do this especially during the summer in my hometown library since it’s much smaller than the ones here in Bloomington-Normal.

A quiet space

Libraries are the best places to find that quiet space. Sometimes I wonder if Milner is my home away from home when I consider all the hours I’ve spent working on assignments and reading for classes. While some people enjoy coffee shops for studying, I love being in a quiet place. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop and bring coffee before I arrive, but I personally love the calmness a library brings. It allows you to focus on work or create a space of relaxation.

Many libraries even have study rooms you can rent if you want an extremely quiet space or one with whiteboards or digital projectors, for example. I don’t mind typing away or reading next to people, but if you prefer to be solely by yourself, definitely look into this option.

Image of a study pod/room that is located on the fifth floor of Milner Library at Illinois State

Librarians are a resource

I have yet to meet a librarian I did not like. They are always extremely inviting and helpful in assisting guests. Whether you have questions about how to locate something or need help with researching for a project, they are there to help you. Especially on campus, there is a librarian for each department that specializes in that academic discipline to better assist students.

My favorite part about getting to know your librarians is when they begin recommending books or following up about ones you’ve read recently. It’s such a fun, welcoming experience that always leaves me without apprehension walking into a library. I would anticipate the same would be for you all once you get comfortable exploring libraries.

Opens doors for other applications

Having a library card will give you access to additional platforms. Whether those are online catalogs with academic journals or even access to audiobooks, it’s something to consider. For myself, I started using hoopla, an online library that is made available from my library card. I have been listening to audiobooks for the first time, and I have been loving listening to books. My favorite is when the chapters are split up by narrators, so I end up hearing two voices, one for each character – it’s been lovely!

Another application I would recommend if you love reading is Goodreads. I attached my personal Goodreads link here, but you can read reviews, receive recommendations, enter book giveaways and so much more! This is a great resource, especially as a future teacher I have found it’s easy to shelf books for different classes and purposes.

#NationalBookLoversDay: Image of book covers arranged in the shape of a heart against a hardwood floor background

These are just a few reasons I love having a library card and going to libraries. I would highly encourage you to go to your local library and get one. You typically just need a form of ID and proof of address, but other than that, it’s a fairly quick and painless process! Libraries are the place to be, and you can’t convince me otherwise.

Happy reading, studying and everything in between!

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Lynn Merigold

Illinois State '23

Lynn graduated from Illinois State University, where she was a contributing writer, chapter editor/president, and member of the Campus Trendsetters community. When she’s not teaching, you can find her spending time with family/friends, attending a fitness class, or listening to an audiobook!