There are numerous buildings and places that many of us have visited and that hold special places in our hearts and memories. Libraries in particular seem to be something that nearly everyone has been lucky enough to experience. Though they are an ancient concept, they remain long-standing from the past and will into the foreseeable future, their purpose seemingly to just house and organize (mainly) books. Even in our rapidly advancing and expanding digital age, they manage to remain in use and prove a frequent destination not only for students but also for a wide range of different visitors. Why such a popular attraction that appeals to all kinds? Where do the warm memories, nostalgia, and continual usefulness come from? Well, here are 15 reasons why libraries do, and always will, RULE!
15. They’re everywhere
One basic reason why library’s popularity is so widespread is, well, because they are widespread! As opposed to chain stores and restaurants, which have finite areas and regions they tend to be limited to, libraries are something that is found at the foundation of just about any town or city. Because of this, they are more widely available to a wider number of visitors across the country. We can pretty much always rely on things like town halls, police stations, fire stations, and of course, libraries to be the essential standards of what makes up each town, even around the world. You may not find a Chipotle or Macy’s in your town, but a library is a guaranteed foundation that is sure to be present and lasting.
14. Common interests
There’s a reason why places like concerts, conventions, movies, performances, and any and all other events are so populated. These occasions and places collect fans who share the same interest in the topic. Same with a location like a library! Other visitors to this building must harbor some interest in the structure, its contents, or other aspects that make up a library. Here you can be guaranteed to find people to chat with and make connections over, as you would at anything else that draws people with the same hobby together. You already have a common interest, so it makes it simple to ease into conversation, bond over books or authors, and make new friends. Even if you tend to prefer to keep to yourself, you’ll possess this mutual, special, silent bond with other library-goers; an unspoken secret that you all know. (Cordial head-nods welcome!)
13. Access resources
Libraries also offer access to a plethora of technologies and equipment, such as, (especially in this day and age,) WiFi! (Score!) There are many other things you can gain access to besides internet including computers, printers, copiers, and scanners, just to name a few. If you typically don’t have access to these coveted pieces of highly useful office equipment at your home, work, or school, you can always count on the use of these machines to help you out in any and all dire and imperative clerical tasks. (Even if you’re just planning to work on your laptop or tablet, outlets are available as well!)
It may sound strange, but hear me out. In the list of people’s favorite smells, “old books” seems to crop up more often than not. What better source for the crisp, distinct smell of book pages than a place that’s literally FULL of them? Shelves and shelves of various ephemera, coupled with clean floors, tidy tables, kempt halls, perhaps with the lightest scent of cleaning products or rug shampoo that always reminds you only of your library—(maybe a whiff of coffee in the air from nearby cafes, or wafting scents of neighboring restaurants)—sets up the perfect fragrant atmosphere for all to enjoy. Scent is just about the best form of memory, and the mix and mingle of old and new books and your library’s specific aroma will be tucked in your sensory memories for years to come.
11. The quiet
Finally, some peace away from the increasingly busy hustle-bustle of the world—in a place that is required to be quiet and peaceful. (Not even your home requires that!) Sure, you can read, work, or study at your house, a restaurant, a café, a friend’s apartment, your room, a park, etc., but you are not guaranteed such a controlled, calm, serene environment. The overall hushed halls of libraries make the perfect setting for quiet contemplation, laser focus, or anything in between. (Hear that? I don’t either. Ahhh.)
This may seem a silly and somewhat trivial thing to point out, but good lighting makes all the difference in a working environment. (Or even just to enjoy a good book.) Luckily, since libraries are mainly for reading, there are an abundance of overhead lights, bright table lamps, and plentiful, large windows letting all the natural light in they can. This kind of lighting makes this quiet, clean, roomy space scattered with spacious tables even more perfect and inviting to work or read in very comfortably, without strain or lackluster lighting to hinder your life.
The world certainly has its bibliophiles—as well as its architecture nerds. However, one needn’t be a student of structural design to appreciate the sometimes stunningly gorgeous construction of bigger, older libraries. Even just walking around these buildings, disregarding their contents, can be ultra-awe-inspiring and calming. The art, the windows, the ceiling vaults, the wood of the tables, the arch of the doorways—the housing for the libraries resources can be among the most striking compositions of architecture the world has to offer. (Usually because they are required to be huge and are usually old, well-built, and specially designed.) If you don’t want to go there to read, work, or study, just enjoy the view!
More and more libraries are becoming the hosts of more varied events throughout the year. (Even such activities as book-readings, live music, movie screenings, plays, and more!) Aside from the usual attractions of visiting authors, the guest lists at some libraries include an impressive array of other careers. They can include (but aren’t limited to) other occupational facets of reading and writing (besides authors,) such as artists, illustrators, historians, archivists, bookmakers, actors, poets, musicians, playwrights, and more. These people lecture or otherwise share their experiences and stories with eager audiences at the library. These events aren’t held only for adults however, as many locations have children’s programs and activities to help encourage reading and education, such as hosting children’s book authors, reading aloud, singing songs, giving plays, making arts and crafts projects, and much more! Keep your eyes out and perhaps sign up for an e-newsletter from your local library to snag these one-of-a-kind special and informative events held there.
7. Not only a source of books
You may not be a big reader, not a student, or just all-around not a bookish person. No problem! Almost all libraries typically have much more than only stacks and stacks of books. Over the years they’ve increased their inventories to include back-issues of a surplus of magazines and newspapers, audio books, historical files, as well as VHS tapes to rent out, (although those have phased out now, and computers and other modern technology access rapidly rises.) Some are also beginning to house a collection of card and board games available to borrow to play in the library. –In other words, you certainly aren’t expected to go to libraries merely for physical books…not anymore!
So, we’ve discussed that libraries have books, magazines, videos, computers, newspapers, and more. If we delve deeper we’ll see the beauty in these resources in that there is NO shortage of topics. There is information about anything you can think of in those walls, from anything you’re curious about to detailed specifics for a school project or homework assignment. This is the beauty in a library as it houses all knowledge and doesn’t discriminate or specify in one particular area or genre. There’s literally something for everyone’s tastes, current interests, and research needs that you can imagine.
Along with having material on an untold number of subject matter, the contents are also not limited to any one age range. Children’s books live alongside adult books, young adult novels, historical, mathematical, and scientific tomes are all to be found as well as comics and graphic novels and everything in between. Children’s areas also feature other distractions besides books like toys and games to stimulate the mind. On the other end of the spectrum, many libraries have a section of large-print books and a selection of audio books for the sight-impaired.
4. Place to hang out, work
As mentioned, libraries are a quiet place with great lighting, comfy chairs everywhere, and wide, clean workspaces. They have not only book resources, but also technology and equipment resources, so it makes the perfect place to hang out, get work done, or both! Even if you don’t use any library resources except for the building itself, as we proved in the aforementioned positive points about libraries, it’s a great studying, learning, and working environment regardless. In the very least, it will get you out of the house and shake off your usual habitat for a fresh perspective.
3. Way to try out books etc. before buying them yourself
Bookstores hold similarities to libraries; however you unfortunately cannot “test” the merchandise before purchasing. Libraries are very much unlike bookstores in this way as they are literally used to “test” or borrow books that you are sure about or aren’t planning to purchase yourself. Not sure if you want a certain magazine subscription? You can easily check out old issues to see if you’ll like their content and writing style. If you’re not sure about the hype around the newest bestseller, best pick up a copy to read before shelling out good money and potentially regretting it if you disliked the book. Try before you buy!
2. No pressure from salespeople
The worst thing that can happen to people who like to take their time and browse is pushy, inquiring, hovering, nosy salespeople. At bookstores, for example, the staff generally aren’t crazy about you taking your time wandering the store, loitering around, and sampling merchandise for an extended period of time. At a library, you needn’t feel guilted into purchasing something just because you looked around for a long time and feel strange leaving under the watchful store attendant’s eye without buying anything. Libraries fully and wholeheartedly welcome lengthy browsing sessions, any amount of reading through the stock, and don’t blink an eye if you walk out empty-handed. Finally!
Finally, something that doesn’t need an admission fee, a monthly subscription, membership costs, or otherwise something else that you have to pay for. All the glowing reasons why to go to and use the library as mentioned above, all for zero dollars. (…and did I mention, “free?”) Honestly, these days, doesn’t that sound so appealing? So pack up your laptop, book bag, headphones, library card, and book it (hee hee) to your local library to explore all the magical opportunities it holds in store. For all these purposes and more, libraries are something that will forever be useful and never go out of style, even in the future as the digital age progresses. Humans will always still need a free, quiet, resource-packed building to attend for varying wants and needs.