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The Benefits Of Getting A Library Card

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Libraries are underrated. Despite being generally loved and valued, there has been a decrease in attendance in towns’ public libraries over the years. Overlooked and vulnerable to budget cuts it is now more than ever that libraries are in need of recognition. If in need of convincing, here are some reasons why you should get a library card.

1. free stuff

Obviously, libraries provide access to books. But people are not taking advantage of the fact that these books are totally free! Since libraries are funded by the government, getting a library card costs you nothing. The selection of books my town’s public library offers is genuinely sick. At my library, I picked up some of my favorite books, a memorable and life-changing example being Six of Crows which I read in a day and then got the sequel to the day after from my library. Through getting a library card you can also help to support your favorite authors as the more a library book gets checked out, the more likely it is your library will purchase more copies of that book. Sometimes I am not in the mood to read digitally, and also not in the mood to drain my wallet at Barnes & Noble, making my library the perfect place to go! Beyond books, getting a library card gives you access to shows, games (including board games), movies, computers, and WiFi. It gets even better though. Your library card can connect to reading apps like Libby and give you access to free e-books! Marisa Aranciba, who is a digital content librarian and a writer for Libby, states “you can also digitally check out ebooks and audiobooks whenever and wherever you want, free with your library card through Libby.” Now you have free access to physical and digital books! For free!

2. Libraries as Third Spaces

Libraries are one of the last third spaces left. “Third spaces” are spaces beside your home and work that facilitate social interaction. At cafes and malls for example there is often the overhanging feeling that you need to spend money to be there, libraries though, request you nothing. Your presence is wanted at your local library. There are a number of psychological benefits connected to the concept of third spaces. Staying at home all day, as fun as it is, can tend to feel isolating at times. Getting out of the house and being around other people goes a long way in helping alleviate feelings of isolation. With more and more third spaces being shut down, people feel they have no public spaces left to exist freely, which is why libraries are so important to preserve.

3. Libraries contribute to a sustainable environment

Simple point here. Libraries promote the preservation of natural resources. By encouraging you to borrow rather than purchase libraries do their part in conserving resources spent on printing books. Additionally, libraries often run book drives where they encourage members to donate books, allowing people to buy second-hand. As for renting books, I for one can say I buy more books than I have available space for on my bookshelf. But with having a library card and choosing to rent my reads, I save money and get the physical book experience, all the while helping to promote environmental sustainability.

4. Libraries are essential for our communities

Libraries are essential social infrastructures and symbols of democracy. Ellen Knutson, a professor in Illinois with a MS in Library and Information Science states, “Libraries and librarians have long played an essential part in the development of strong democratic communities. They have championed literacy and education and have served as community spaces, open to all people.” Libraries are special in that they discriminate against no one. In helping to build community, my public library has a number of programs available for people of all ages: book clubs, writing groups, knitting groups, etc. Additionally, libraries are known to support small businesses and promote civic engagement, such as through running voter registration drives. Simply being a gathering space with free access to knowledge, libraries play a crucial role in helping communities to thrive.

A viral TikTok of librarian, @mychal3ts on TikTok, describing a special site he saw while working.

More and more the American government has been attacking the existence of third spaces, meaning libraries are vulnerable. Across the country, public libraries are facing understaffing and a lack of funds. Getting a library card lets your local library know you value its presence as without public support, libraries are unable to survive.

A library card makes for a triple win. It helps save money, encourages you to read more, helps contribute to a sustainable environment, and helps your community stay strong. All the while being totally free!

Minal Faheem

U Conn '26

Minal is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut.