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Public Libraries

A library which is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources.

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Oh, the Books You can Read!

  • Jun 23, 2011
  • by
I love public libraries and would keep them around if I were in charge.

That may sound like a common statement, but in my case it's quite a generous compliment. I'm one of those heartless, evil libertarians rightists keep saying are unpatriotic and leftists keep saying are racist. (And no, I'm not especially unpatriotic or racist. I can see the angle on the first one because I think nationalistic traditions are given far more relevance than they need and I hate the idea of needing papers to travel or live in the country. But I consider the latter a form of libel and WILL sue anyone who seriously applies it to me.) That means I want my taxes as low as possible and have a deeply rooted streak of government distrust, so I take even the policies I agree on with a grain of salt.

Public libraries are of of the very few aspects of government I accept without question. I credit my parents with encouraging me to read and teaching me to do it well, but it's public libraries which are the unlimited source for me to actually read just about anything I want. I write a small independent blog about baseball literature called Lit Bases (www.litbases.wordpress.com), and I cull nearly all of my material for it from libraries. I wish the libraries would get the new material faster, but I otherwise have access to a lot of titles and hard to find books on baseball.

Yes, reading a ton of baseball books definitely leaves a little bit of burnout on the subject, which is why it's also important that I can grab books on virtually any other subject. I read a lot of classics - Hemingway, Dickens, Twain, Updike, Vonnegut - all authors whose work I schooled myself in through expansive use of libraries. In the main branch of the Chicago library system, there are various quotes by certain people espousing the virtues of reading. One of them by a person whose name escapes me says the Chicago Public Library is his alma mater. That is a well-spoken statement, and one with which I completely agree, except mine would also include the Buffalo library system.

Having used two different library systems, it amazes me that this simple concept can differ in so many little ways. In Buffalo, I can accrue fines up to ten dollars before they shut down my account. In Chicago, your account will be shut down if you're just a single day late with a few cents of a fine to pay. In Chicago, they let you borrow music CDs for three weeks. In Buffalo, you get them for just one.

CD's. That's another thing. You can borrow CD's from libraries, and movies too. You do have to be careful about them, though, because they often carry much heavier fines than the books. Also, they tend to be scratched up a lot sometimes, which always amazes me because I don't think a journey from a case to a player is a particularly difficult one which would result in injuries.

There are more books on this planet than there are libraries, so it's not merely possible but in fact quite likely that a library may not own any copies of a certain book. In this case, you can order the book you're looking for from a different library and have it sent to the branch you usually visit. I like this idea because it ensures a constant flow of reading material that interests me.

Yes, libraries have their problems, but it's foolish to consider anything perfect. Public libraries perform a valuable service. Without the wealth of reading material I've borrowed from public libraries, I probably wouldn't be a libertarian. How's that for irony?

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More Public Libraries reviews
review by . February 10, 2010
Public libraries are the ultimate reusable resource
Even in this age where reduce, reuse and recycle are three ideas that are on the minds of many, one place may get overlooked for it's green services. I'll give you a hint ...Shhh... if you enjoy books, like to save money and are an eco-conscious person look no further than your local public library. Instead of purchasing a book, see if your local public library has it in stock. As you probably know, when you are finished with the book, just return it and repeat the process.  The best part is …
review by . September 23, 2009
Library 2
Here is one of those rare subjects I think just about all of us can agree on.  The public library is an absolutely indispensible part of any thriving community,  Libraries serve people of every age group in a variety of ways.  You might think that here in the digital age public libraries may have become less relevant.  Exactly the opposite is true.  The fact of the matter is that public libraries are busier today than ever before.  …
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2010
Our library has DVDs and Blu-rays. Movies, documentaries. Self help. How-to. The library is networked with over 30 other libraries in the area, so I can get just about anything I want for free, delivered to my branch library. It's like having Netflix. I put holds on several items and wait to see which ones come in first. I do this for books, too. Here's an extra tip. Browse Amazon.com for new books, movies, TV shows on DVD, etc. Then go to the library site and reserve the ones you want. Some take …
Quick Tip by . July 11, 2010
I believe that all public libraries should be cited as national treasures and given the necessary funding to thrive and help nourish the communities to which they belong. Libraries are depositories of information and opinions. Support your local libraries through your patronage and volunteerism and support the intellectual growth of your town! Books = knowledge = advancement of the species. Gee, not very subtle about this one, am I?
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
i volunteered at a local library for the summer reading program. I got to meet all kinds of people and had a lot of fun reading the books for the story time hour. Public libraries are a good resource for everyone and they need to be better funded.
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Some need restoration,new books.
review by . February 17, 2010
WorldCat.org is the world library catalog. Use WorldCat to find books in libraries near you.      Tip: Most US public libraries will give you a library card if you live in the same state. Get cards from libraries in cities near you. Create accounts on their websites. Use WorldCat to find a book you want to read. Click through to a library near you that has the book. Reserve the book. They will put it on the Hold shelf for you to pick up.      Review of WorldCat.org …
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #17
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Public libraries exist in most nations of the world and are often considered an essential part of having an educated and literate population. Public libraries are distinct from research libraries, school libraries, or other special libraries  in that their mandate is to serve the public's information needs generally (rather than serve a particular school, institution, or research population), as well as offering materials for general entertainment and leisure purposes. Public libraries typically are lending libraries, allowing users to take books and other materials off the premises temporarily; they also have non-circulating reference collections. Public libraries typically focus on popular materials such as popular fiction  and movies, as well as educational and nonfiction materials of interest to the general public; computer and internet access is also often offered.

In addition to print books and periodicals, most public libraries today have a wide array of other media including music CDs, movies on video tape and DVD, as well as facilities to access the Internet and inter-library reservations. Readers' advisory is a fundamental public library service that involves suggesting fiction and nonfiction titles (often called "readalikes"). Public libraries may also provide other services, such as community meeting rooms, storytelling for infants, toddlers, and children, or after-school programs. In person and on-line programs for reader development, ...
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