The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
After I began working for Seattle Public Libraries about a month and a half ago, I quickly became enthusiastic about everything the library has to offer. Being a patron at your local public libraries has so many benefits, and I’m here to tell you just a few of the amazing things that I’ve picked up by spending so much time in a library this quarter. So, without further ado…
- The Library is accepting
Public libraries pride themselves in their accepting environments because the library truly is a space where everybody belongs! It’s a place where all areas of interest are validated and people are always encouraged to expand their minds in whatever ways fit them best. It’s a place where individual needs can be accommodated in both physical and figurative ways—the libraries are, in some way, shape, or form, ADA accessible, as well as incredibly diverse in their topics of literature.
- The Library will save you money
Your local public library is one of the only places, especially in a large city like Seattle, where people can occupy space without being expected to spend money. Usually, my default location for a homework session would be a cozy coffee shop. However, in a setting like that, I’m expected to buy something, and then the temptation to take a brain break and buy yet another treat is lurking over my head the entire time I’m studying. At the library, I can bring a tasty beverage and a snack from home, and sit as long as I need to without feeling obligated to make a single purchase.
- The Library is inspiring
On these previously mentioned brain breaks, instead of buying a little pastry, it’s fun to take a stroll through the shelves. Seeing so many titles, plotlines, topics, and images can be super exciting, and has even led me to check out a variety of items! Walking around the library satisfies my love of window-shopping in a way that never ends in an unnecessary splurge. It’s also a gentle reminder of the expansive amount of things I do not know yet, and that these things are quietly waiting on the shelves, itching to be learned whenever I am ready.
- The Library has friendly staff
Now, I know this might be a conflict of interest, but I can’t stress enough how wonderful the library staff is! To uphold values of acceptance, curiosity, and helpfulness, the employees at the library need to embody such qualities, and I feel that my coworkers are examples of this every day. They are always willing to answer questions, provide suggestions, check on what’s available, put items on hold, you name it! My experience with library staff has been stress-free and inspiring thus far, and I look forward to work every time I have a shift!
- The Library creates reading incentive
Checking items out from the library is a low-stakes way to test out books you might not have otherwise. I don’t feel the pressure of spent-money sitting on my shelf collecting dust; I don’t have a due date on an assignment in the back of my mind; there are no expectations of a generous family member who may have gifted me the book. When I check out a book, it’s just for me, and I know I won’t have it forever, which means I’m more motivated to read it! Even if I don’t quite finish an item before returning it, my reading momentum has been slowly speeding up over the past month, and I’ve been able to dip my toes into some pretty cool books.
- The Library is more than just books
Not super into reading? Not a problem! The library carries more than just big, heavy, scary books. There are plenty of up-to-date magazine and newspaper issues, DVDs (both fiction and nonfiction), books on CD, music on CD, and graphic novels available for checkout. In addition to all of this, the library has tons of online resources that I haven’t ventured into yet.
- The Library upholds confidentiality
Another equally important thing the library prides itself in is confidentiality. A patron’s checkout activity/history is no one’s business but the patron’s, or someone the patron has given explicit permission to. Library staff is consistent in their facilitating of this value. By refraining from commenting on patrons’ selections, as well as avoiding the spread of this information to others, the employees can make sure that the library remains a safe space for everyone to access the resources and information they need.
The public library system is one that works with the patron’s best interest in mind. It’s a place where anyone and everyone is welcome, a place that fosters intellectual growth, a place that’s simply fun to be in! As finals approach, do yourself a favor and take some time to visit your local library, I promise you won’t regret it.