I’ve never had the privilege of access to a decent public library, but the idea of it always sent a nice tingle down my spine. But when living in a country where taxes don’t exactly go to the right places, I’ve given up all hope on having decent public libraries in the Philippines. In Dubai, I’ve chucked the idea out of the window knowing that there is only only decent bookstore in the entire country. Imagine that! So the public library is just a pipe dream to me. Maybe books aren’t just priorities of governments nowadays.
Until one day, a highschool batchmate of mine prodded me to visit our city’s public library. I brushed off her suggestion thinking that the books in the public library would be dated. And so I moved on with my reading life, searching for the best deals for books I wanted to read on Amazon, Half-Price Books and eBay (I have no qualms on buying pre-loved books).
But somehow, there was a little birdie who told me to check out the public library’s collection. And so I did…and was floored! I restrained myself from jumping, dancing and cartwheeling in our wee apartment’s living area. How can you enjoy the perks of the public library? Here’s how…
First, get yourself a LIBRARY CARD. You don’t even need to get yourself to the actual library to get one. Well, you do. But you can actually apply for one ONLINE then go to the library to pick it up. Wait, do all US public libraries have online access? Maybe not. But I am damn lucky that we do have easy access online because I did apply for my library card with just a few keystrokes. Easy as pie, as they say here in America.
Note that you only need to prepare a document as proof of residence (like your driver’s license or maybe state ID if you don’t drive) in your city AND don’t need to pay for anything. Tadah! You now have an all access pass to the city’s public library collections.
Second, check out the LOCATIONSSSS of the nearest public library. Yes, your city may have multiple public libraries. You read it right: M-U-L-T-I-P-L-E. And you can borrow from ALL those libraries. There are FIVE librariessss in our city. Don’t you just love that there are that much publicly accessible books?
Third (if you have this option in your city), browse your public library’s collection ONLINE. Oh yeah. No need to go to the library and browse the shelves or even the dusty Dewey Decimal system. Our city’s collection was so unbelievably up-to-date, including just released books: real ones, ebooks and audio books, plus DVDs, CDs, newspapers and magazines.
Fourth, reserve or request the titles you are interested in reading / watching / listening to. Yes, you could reserve them in advance, especially if there are a lot of people who are interested in reading / watching / listening to a title. The good thing is, you don’t even need to travel to one library location to another in case that the title isn’t available. Your requested title could be delivered to your pick up library of choice for no fee. No hassles!
Fifth, borrow as much as you want. Well, maybe not as much. But you can borrow a maximum of five (5) items on your first library loan.Then on the succeeding library loans, you can borrow up to fifty (50) items at a time. So you can read / watch / listen to as much as you can in a three (3) week period…at least for books. DVDs (excluding instructional and those with a playing time longer than seven hours), current Bluebonnet books, current tax books, easy holiday books and science experiment books have a loan period of seven (7) days.
Just make sure to return your books on time. You only get charged if your loaned items are over due.
Lastly, check out the library’s activities. I have not had the chance to join any, the workshops are worth a look.
I sincerely thank the US government for putting our tax money to good use 🙂 Yes, even if we are not citizens, do pay a fair share of taxes. I just love, love, love the public library! We’ve been there 3x last month 😉