Friday, September 26, 2014

Three Tips for New Library Patrons

Libraries are lovely places and I absolutely love to visit them. When I started visiting the libraries I really enjoyed it but sometimes found them frustrating or confusing. Every library is different so these are just some suggestions based on my experiences at the library about finding the library that works for you. 

1) Try more than one -
If you strike out at one library, try another. Individual public libraries choose how to spend their funds and each library has its own unique selection of books. If you can't find what you are looking for at your closest library, maybe try out the next closest. Personally, I was finding one library a little stressful because there was limited parking I had to pay for, high demand for the books and it was hard to find books. I have another library that is only a few more minutes away (in the other direction) and decided to try that one. I have found this experience to be much more enjoyable. There is more parking which is free, lower demand on the books and I actually like the selection more. Also the drive there is less stressful. I've ended up going to the library more often since my switch. 

2) Learn the Lay of the Land (aka browse a lot) -
Libraries are not always set up in the easiest way to understand. I've been in ones that have multiple levels, lots of room and many entrances. It takes time to find subjects you are interested in and may take even longer to find the book.  If you don't find what you are looking for easily be sure to ask. Librarians are great people who know their building better than anyone. The section you are looking for might be tucked in a corner just waiting to be pointed out. 

3) Visit Often -
I've had many interesting experiences in libraries and the #1 thing I've learned is libraries are complex beings and you only use them to their full potential by visiting often. 

They have book sales, events of all kinds and offer many services to the community. Librarians are rather wonderful people and I am jealous of their knowledge and expertise. Last time I was at the library the ladies were helping people fill out passport applications and the time before that there was resume help. There are also often programs for kids that include homework help, special events and programs. There are computers to use, databases to explore and of course so many books to read. While searching for services on my library's website, I have learned about so many more.

It is simply amazing the amount of resources to be found at the library. Check them out! 

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