As a reader and writer, I go to my library at least once a week. I’m always checking out or returning a book. For a while, the library was nothing more than my main source of books to read. I believe it is important to own books. However, thanks to libraries I can read a book to know I want to buy it. I can’t buy every book I want to read, so the library is where I get the bulk of my reading material.
Recently however, I’ve discovered more of my local library’s resources. I’m so grateful to know all of the resources the library has to offer, not just the fact that I can check out books. As a reader and writer, I know many of the resources I was formerly ignorant of, will be very useful to me.
As a writer and a human being passionate about life and experiencing the world I live in (like all writers, right?) I welcome all sources of knowledge. Libraries are crucial for writers because of the books that educate us and aid us in writing our own books. But libraries offer so many other avenues of knowledge. As I’ve learned more about other resources available, I’ve come to believe that they are equally as important. Knowledge is power, no matter its form. I firmly believe that any source of knowledge, any resource available at a library can be helpful to a writer.
You can also check out what other writers think about the importance of libraries.
Why You Need to Know Your Library’s Resources
I’ll be talking about resources available at my public library (since that’s what I’m familiar with). Odds are your library has similar resources, if not some of the same ones. Either way, I hope you feel encouraged to find out what is available at your library.
Each section has information on the resource available (which will be most helpful to people living in the Hillsboro, Oregon area) and information about why this is a valuable resource (which will be most helpful to writers and those who want to know why it is important to be aware of library resources).
There are 18 libraries within Washington County. You can request any item from any of these libraries and have it delivered to the library closest to you. So, if the book you want is not at your library, but is available at another you can still request it without having to drive to another library. And if none of the libraries in the county own the item, there is also an interlibrary loan between other participating libraries.
No matter where you live, if you ever need a book that isn’t available, ask if your library can get the book from another library. Chances are they might have an interlibrary loan system. If not, libraries usually accept recommendations of books and items their patrons would like to see in the library. This may help the item become available in the future.
Twice a year, the library has a massive books sale. And I mean massive. I went to one earlier this month and they were selling classics, children’s books, self-help books, atlases, language guides, and gardening books—just to name a few. They even sold games and movies. But my favorite part of the sale were the prices! I got 4 children’s books for $10. They were all hard cover and in really good condition.
Although I buy plenty of books new because I value being a book owner and I want to support authors that write books that inspire me, I’ll never complain when I can get more bang for my buck. If you’re looking for cheap books, see if your library ever has any sales.
Ranging from story times for babies (0-12 months) to family story times, the library has a wide range of story times for all. There are also story times specific to folktales and legends and even ones in 5 different languages including Spanish and Arabic. Check out the full list of story times.
As a reader and writer, I want my children to have a love and appreciation for literature. I want books and stories to be something that bonds and unites my family. Story times for my kids and for the whole family are a great way for us to connect and enjoy literature together. It’s also a great way to meet other parents and families that want their children to gain knowledge and enjoy reading. What story times does your library have?
Summer Reading Programs
Every summer the library starts a summer reading program for kids, teens, and adults. This year registration starts June 1st. Along with books to read, there are entertaining events all summer long and awesome prizes for participants up to 18 years of age. Adults who register can receive a weekly email with book suggestions and upcoming events all summer long. Adults will also be eligible to win some prizes.
It’s important to keep kids reading once school is out. Summer reading programs are a great way to make that happen. With the prizes and events included, it’s a great way to make reading fun. Does your library have a summer reading program? When does it start?
Each year library patrons 18 and older can check out one admission pass for each destination. So you can go to each destination once a year! With a pass, admission is FREE. You can have two admission passes at a time (to different locations), and you can reserve a pass up to three months in advance. Dates for admission passes are updated the first of each month. There are passes for museums, gardens, a mansion, and a water park.
Visiting museums is a great way to experience life and make memories. Especially as a writer, museums may aid in research for a novel. Or they might provide inspiration for future stories (so don’t forget to bring your writer’s notebook.) Does your library offer museum passes?
Library of Things
The Hillsboro Main Library and the Shute Park Branch Library both host a “Library of Things.” You can check out instruments, kitchenware, and even a cotton candy machine. There are a total of 158 items at the Hillsboro Main Library. This is a great resource if you want to try an item before you decide to purchase it. It is also handy if you know you only need the item for a short while and don’t want to buy it.
As a writer, I’m also really glad to know about this resource. I can see myself checking items out simply to describe them more accurately. If I ever have a main character that plays the ukulele I can check one out in order to describe how it feels and sounds. Or if I have a scene at a carnival I could check out the cotton candy machine to be able to describe its mechanisms and how it works. Does your library offer more than books? What else can you check out?
Just this month the Hillsboro Main Library opened a new section called the Collaboratory. The Collaboratory features open labs, meet-ups, and classes for teens and adults. Open labs allow you to use the Collaboratory equipment which includes a sewing machine, 3D printer, Arduinos, arts and crafts tools, and more. During meet-ups space is used for a specific activity and you can meet with people working on similar projects. Classes are taught by experts, and anyone of any skill level can attend. Registration is required for classes.
Although I don’t see myself using the Collaboratory as much, it’s still a fascinating resource. And who knows, maybe a class or a meet-up with fellow writers will come in handy. Lots of libraries at least offer study rooms and other resources to meet with people and get projects done. What spaces or resources does your library offer?
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a library that doesn’t have special events. Whether they be authors coming to speak, or concerts, or theater productions, libraries usually host several events each month. The Hillsboro Main Library has a calendar of events. You can also check out this list of 100 free things to do at the library.
What events are happening at your library?
As I’ve learned about the resources available at my local library, I know I will use the library for more than just checking out books. I may not use all of the resources, but I am glad to know about them in case I ever do need to use them. And there are definitely resources I was unaware of that I will now be taking full advantage of.
Learning about all these resources has also given me a deeper appreciation for my local library. I’m grateful to have a library so close. I’m glad I have access to so much knowledge. Even if I use some resources more than others, I’m grateful for the resources that are useful to me, and I want to support my library any way I can.
What is your favorite resource at your library?