The Evolution of the Library

When I was young(er) I used to spend a large portion of my time at the library picking out books to read, taking part in the summer reading program and looking at the library’s pet hamster.  My mom or my grandmother would take me by every week or so, and I would stock up on books until my next visit.

I particularly loved following the exploits of Ramona Quimby, Ralph S. Mouse, Stuart Little and Bunnicula.

As I got older, my love of reading never waned, but I began to visit the library more as a means for research than for checking out books, and I dove into my brother’s paperback collection instead to read an eclectic assortment including The Chronicles of Narnia and horror books written by Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz. (And to this day, I still attest that The Shining is the scariest book ever written).

As I entered college I had less time for pleasure reading (being an English major) and began doing the majority of my research via Internet and on-line databases… because the Internet never closes and when you attend college and work full-time, it is difficult to make it to the library.

As an adult, I still read voraciously but I had shifted from visiting the library for books to visiting my local Half-Price Bookstore.  I would scan the shelves, buy the books I wanted, add the “good ones” to my library and then sell the rest back (which by the way is not lucrative).  But for some reason last week, I decided I wanted to visit the local branch of my library, so I talked my husband in to going with me and we decided to check it out.

It had been quite some time since I entered a public library, and I was a little astounded at what I found.  It was packed. There were children, teens and adults milling around looking at books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs and using the computers provided by the library.  There were even a few people using their own laptops and the free Wi-Fi provided.  I saw children playing educational games on the computers, a woman looking up directions on Google Maps and a man working on an essay.

The desktops were set up in two stations with six being dedicated just to the children’s section – sitting on low tables with children-sized chairs and approximately ten to fifteen desktops set up in another section for everyone to use.

I have since visited the library’s webpage and found their Acceptable Use Policy, learned I can access on-line databases with my library card number, located some book clubs and learned about the summer reading program. Who knew?

I have visited the library on my campus, and knew school libraries had evolved since I used to visit them, but I have remained oblivious to the change of the public library.  I was pleasantly surprised at my visit, and in fact, returned on Sunday to check out some more books to read.

In the past ten years or so it seems the library has become a much more exciting place with computers, Wi-Fi and a multitude of resources to entertain – books, magazines, movies on DVD and VHS, music CDs and audiobooks.  If like me, you have grown apart from your library, I suggest you give it another chance because while you were busy growing up… it was too.

Explore posts in the same categories: Library, Reading, Summer Memories

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