Saturday, January 22, 2011

Public Libraries are Awesome

I did it! One of my new year I finally joined the Salt Lake City public library. Back in early December I wrote about my love of books and bookstores and public libraries. I have wanted to join the library since moving here. I love buying books and music (at the dwindling number of music and bookstores in the US), and I feel very fortunate that I have money to buy these things. BUT, why not add to that? The public library is a beautiful, beautiful thing. How awesome is it that not only can you check out books, now you can also check out movies, audio books and music CDs! All for FREE!

Thank you America. The public library is one of your greatest creations. I thank the universe that they exist and that they are alive and well in many cities and communities. I excitedly exclaimed something along these lines while we were at the library today, causing my husband to call me a big nerd. If loving the library makes me a nerd, then yes, I am a huge nerd.

When I was growing up in the 70s, the public library in my hometown - the Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania - was like heaven. I vividly remember my mother (thank you mom!) taking me there on weekends when I was a little girl. I was so excited to walk through the stacks of books. Endless possibilities. Since then, in spite of some use of the Arlington, VA public library back in the late 90s, I have sadly not taken advantage of this great resource. That is going to change.

The motto of the SLC Public Library system: "A dynamic civic resource that promotes free and open access to information, materials and services to all members of the community to advance knowledge, foster creativity, encourage the exchange of ideas, build community and enhance the quality of life." Who can't get behind that?

So what did I check out on my first trip to the SLC public library? I grabbed two very random music CDs. That is the beauty of the free library - you aren't making a financial commitment so why not try random books, movies and CDs? The SLC library lets you check out up to 30 music CDs at a time! I picked up, wait for it, Alice Cooper - Goes to Hell. A1976 classic. I had the record album and I used to listen to this a lot in junior high school. I thought it was dark and mysterious and cool at the time. Listening to it now is not so fun. I picked up Joe Jackson - Rain - never heard of the album, but I like him, so I will give it a try. I also picked up an NPR Road Trips CD, with stories about family vacations - because not only am I a library nerd, I am also an NPR geek. And I picked up a classic book that I haven't thought about since college - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I know I read it, but I don't remember any of it, so I look forward to reading it again.

Do you belong to your local public library? If so, then you know why I am raving about how wonderful it is. If not, get out there and take advantage of your city and county tax dollars at work!

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