One Card To Rule Them All – A New Library
One card to rule them all…
I’m not talking about your credit card. I’m talking about your library card.
Mom, I have two questions for you:
When you travel do you visit the local libraries?
Are you reading on your tablet yet?
While you were here we went to the local library and you already know I had a blast. Then I got to thinking about other people and wondering if I’m strange for having so much invested in my local library. I actually remember my earliest experiences as a kid going to the large Minneapolis Public Library with the planetarium inside. You had to get me my own card just so I could check out my own books.
As a kid, it was a big deal. It was the first card with my name on it. (No complaints about my name, Mom, but even you have to admit in those days it was impossible to find at souvenir shops.) I felt like it opened up so many new worlds and opportunities.
But, why would I tell adults that they NEED a library card?
Can’t they just buy a book if they like it?
What if they don’t have the time to read?
I love to visit libraries, really, it’s the smell of the books. (I know, I’m weird) But there’s something comforting about the smell of books and the quiet of the library setting that I crave after long days of visiting a new city or town. Let me tell you there’s only one place on the planet where I need to be friends with the person working behind the counter and that’s the library. Not only can they match you with the right book, they’re a wealth of information about the place you’re visiting. Don’t believe me? Next time you get lost, pop into your library and you’ll see for yourself.
What about where you live?
How complicated of a process is it?
Not very complicated at all.
You’ll need your local ID to show the librarian. They’ll walk you through the process setting up a personal code and an email so they can keep you up to date on your books and local library events.
If you don’t have a local ID does that mean you can’t have a card? No.
You’ll just need a form of ID that carries a picture and signature.
And one other item that has your current address and your name on it. (For example, if you’ve got some kind of official mail like a utility bill that will work.)
Is it worth getting your library card?
Here are some reasons for getting one:
Access to the library’s computers:
If you’ve got your own laptop, your access to the library’s system may not be obvious. It wasn’t to me either. However, there are somethings that you can download at the library that doesn’t work in other places as well. My immigration paperwork for example. Comes up perfectly at the library but at home doesn’t work at all. There is a ton of business software that you can learn and use right there at the library.
Same goes for the use of their printers. If you need a hard copy of something (trust me, the day will come) and you don’t own a printer with ink anymore the library’s printers are fast. However, having a card you can add money to print seamlessly. Did I mention that I have access to a 3D printer through my library? (I know! I’m giddy)
Conference room reservations:
If you’d like to conduct some business with tables and chairs provided and without paying, the library is your spot. You can use one of their conference rooms by reserving it, with your library card in advance.
In North America again the libraries come with better tech and huge study spaces. The collections of books are huge. Their media collections also have a huge draw. Now you can check out more than just books there’s audiobooks and DVDs too. Each library is also connected to a branch system. It means your card gives you access to every library in their included branch system. My current library is one of nineteen!
For your kids:
Multiple cards in the family just means more books that you can take out. Especially, if they don’t have a card of their own yet. Even when they do, you’re going to want that extra card. Besides that, you get the benefit of participating in free programs offered by the library like technology and language lessons. Not to mention the movie nights and craft activities young ones can enjoy.
What about when traveling internationally?
Nicaragua isn’t big on libraries so you might be asking how I got my library fix the eight years I was there. There weren’t many libraries. They have some museums that carry books inside of them (mostly religious) but no place to go in and check out books. We used a different system that works for those who travel.
It’s the “leave a book, take a book,” program. Never heard of it? Yeah, neither had I.
You look for the small cafes in the area and find their designated bookshelf. They might have some for sale nearby. However, most of the books will have a sign that says something like:
“Take one, leave one.”
Indicating that the books are free if you’ll just leave one behind for the next person. It was a great system and many travelers coming through brought and left books behind.
But what if you read a lot and there’s no library, no exchange program, and not enough money in the bank to buy all the books you’re capable of reading?
Remember that tablet you bought a while ago?
(Stop shaking your head, I know you have one.)
I know you’re carrying a smartphone. Which means you’ve got the ability to carry as many books as your memory will allow. With the internet, you’ve got access to every book you can imagine. If you love to read and you’re not reading on your tablet yet, you’ll want to by the time you reach the end of this post.
The last and maybe most important reasons for adults to keep up their library cards is access to their digital library system. That’s right, every library has both a physical and an internet presence. They’re not even made up of all the same books.
Remember there are still the reference sections of the library that contain books that you can only physically read in the library.
However, most of the popular books including the ones that are made into film, audiobooks, and movies can all be found on your library’s digital platform.
How do you access the digital library?
There are several options but I’m going to give my favorite. You can give your opinion in the comments below if you’ve got your own.
OverDrive is my app of choice when it comes to ease of use and access to digital libraries. You can enter as many libraries as you like and with your library card number, you can download digital books, audiobooks, and movies and directly into the app for use when you disconnect from the internet.
You can even put books on hold, get extensions, and return items all from within the app.
The best thing about using the app and the digital platform is that you’ll never have an overdue book. The app automatically returns the item on its due date if you forget about it. You don’t even have to be connected to the internet for that part to work.
A couple of things to keep in mind is that each digital library carries different books. If you’ve got more than one library card you can test it out, or just trust me. When looking for a book that’s popular, I find that sometimes it might be available in one library but I’d have to be on hold for it in another. So keep that in mind. They have a limit on how many digital copies they can borrow just like physical books.
I hope you’re convinced to visit the local library where you’re traveling or even where you live. If you can’t get there in person, carry it with you. Your tablet or phone can hold a lot of books before it bogs down your memory. Make good use of it. Escape into a good book and if you have any more questions about traveling with books just let me know.
Here’s my question: Where is the most beautiful library you’ve ever visited? How many books do you have on your tablet today?