I have been so busy taking out books from academic libraries that I hadn’t visited my local library in (I am so embarrased to say) two years! I started visiting again this summer, and boy have things changed in two years!
The most wonderfully surprising thing was that you can now check out museum passes! Isn’t that neat? Visions of visiting the Morris Arboretum and Grounds for Sculpture as soon as the weather gets a little more bearable are dancing in my head! The other cool thing is that they have an independent film streaming service called IndieFlix. Not only can you watch all kinds of off the beaten path films, but if you’re a filmmaker, you can even submit your own films for others to view. They have also expanded their eBooks and have two services to choose from.
The schedule for happenings is jam packed: I can hang out and paint in an adult art class on Sundays, go to the local Shakespeare meeting once a month, organize against genetically modified food, join a creative writing or poetry writing group, or even a film screening and discussion! The stuff they have for teens and kids is incredible — everything from zombie apocalypse groups to wee story time. They are even having a dance to raise extra funds in November. I may never attend any of these events as a hermit introvert 😉 but I’m so glad to know that they are offered.
Of course, all of the everyday magic that has always existed at the library is still there — I struggle home every time I visit with an armful of books. My latest trip has me learning about the familiar essay, reading what Harold Bloom thinks are the best poems ever written, baking whole grain bread, and getting to know Emily Dickinson better. I never leave the Friends of the Library sale table without getting some book I’ve been wanting for fifty cents. The staff always have a smile, offers of help, and a bit of bookish chit-chat for me.
I can’t help but clutch my heart, get a little misty, and marvel about how democratic and uplifting this all is. Freedom, knowledge, world-opening, and doing it yourself goodness — all of the things I hold most dear — are happening every hour of every day through my local library. What a great example of a vital community resource done right. My tiny white plastic card that doesn’t involve money is the most valuable thing in my wallet.