When was the last time you visited a public library?

The other day I had a half hour of time before an appointment so I stopped in at my local library to get some cookbooks for stepping up my weekly menu planning. I lost track of time and was almost late for my appointment. I forgot how much I loved free public libraries! 

Every season of my life has library memories, from filling a huge canvas bag of books as an elementary kid to checking out a big bag of books as a young mom with toddlers. We have Googled local libraries on rainy vacation days at the beach, visited library story times while traveling, and found joy in perusing the shelves of public libraries and bookstores across the country whether or not we take any books home. As a young mom, I got a new cookbook every time I took my kids to the library. Recently I had houseguests with school age kids for a few months and we took regular visits to the library where I told them they could get as many books as they could carry. 

Benjamin Franklin started his own lending library company in 1731 and the oldest public library in the US opened in 1790. According to the American Library Association there are about 17,000 public libraries in the US which is more libraries than Starbucks or McDonald’s. The Library of Congress has the world’s largest collection of books. 

Many libraries offer more than just books. What makes your local public library unique? Do they have classes for lifelong learning? Do they loan out ties for interviews or music cds? Librarians are a great source of information from suggesting new book titles to reluctant readers who are stuck on one particular series to answering questions about the flowers growing on the property. 

In the US we are privileged to have so many libraries. Expat friends living across the globe have started English book libraries in corners of their offices or turned to ebooks or audio books for their kids. I had never thought about the lack of libraries for expat kids. 

When was the last time you visited a public library? Put it on your calendar this month and take a friend along. Get a library card if you do not have one. Challenge yourself to pick a new book off the suggested book shelf that you might not otherwise read. Get a cookbook and find at least one new recipe to try. 

Finally, since my cookbooks are due back in a few weeks, I am motivated to visit the library again and get another armful of books!

Need some good books to read to your kids or students? Check out next week’s blog post for 20 Read Aloud Books for the Middle Years.

Looking to set up school year expectations including regular trips to public libraries? Read this blog. 

Table Talk: How many local libraries are in your area? Are you more likely to return your library books on time or have to pay a late fee? When is it worth paying a late fee for library books?

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