True confession—in case you hadn’t figured this out yet: I’m a book hoarder. So, you might ask, why does someone who seldom sees a book she doesn’t want to own love libraries? Let me count the ways!
- My local libraries all have book sales on-going, and I can pick up all sorts of interesting books, CDs, DVDs, etc., for $1-$2—some good enough to gift!
- I can borrow audio books for those times when I can’t actually read—e.g., when I have a raging case of conjunctivitis or I’m driving 200 miles
- Many people—even writers!—think research means Google, but sometimes that comes up short. In my experience, nothing beats the reference section of a library and a friendly librarian for helping to ferret out the tidbits you need to make your story real.
- Big, important libraries—such as the Library of Virginia or Radcliff’s Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on The History of Women in America—hold all sorts of materials that you can’t buy, or even borrow: historic papers, maps, diaries, letters, photos, etc. But you can take notes and often you can make copies!
- Probably less important for writers than for others—except in emergencies—but libraries offer free access to computers, and thus the internet.
- Libraries host programs that are free to the public, often talks by writers or about writing.
- Study rooms and meeting rooms are available free for non-profit use—such as critique group meetings. IMHO, every writer should have at least one good critique group that meets regularly, and meeting at a library means no one has to make the house suitable for visitors!
- Inter-library loan is a godsend!
- So why do I love libraries? Because I’m a writer!