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7 Ways to Support Your Local Public Library & the Benefits of a Free Library Card

Books & Writing

Sat, May 04

Local libraries are one of the best resources available to us as students. Aside from holding a world of knowledge in books, movies, and CDs, they also provide Wi-Fi, computers, printers, and research databases. Schools often partner with library systems to support subscription-based sources. All of these benefits come with a free library card.

However, the pandemic has been steadily shutting down operations that keep our beloved libraries open. To keep this valuable vault of information available, here are 7 ways to support your local public library.

1: Get a Library Card

This may seem like an obvious step, but there are many reasons why this helps libraries. Libraries depend on statistics to keep their funding and support from the government and other sources. By getting a library card, libraries prove that they are supported by patrons and deserve more money to keep their facilities running smoothly. The number of members, especially a trend in new members, shows a surge of interest.

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2: Borrow Books Often

Libraries depend on how many books are borrowed to determine how many books can be bought. Their budget depends on you. Fight book bans by checking out books with LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC themes because libraries will buy books that people show interest in. Numbers are the most important things that librarians can point to when preventing book bans.

If you live far from your library or don't have the transportation to go often, that's fine. eBooks also support libraries. You can download books onto your eReader or your phone at the click of a button. The Libby app is easily accessible and automatically returns your books so you don't rack up fines when you accidentally forget to drop them off. Besides, there's nothing quite like seeing the notification that a highly anticipated book on hold is now ready.

3: Donate Books

Do you have any old Junie B. Jones books that your younger siblings never touch? That one book you bought for an English class you'll never read again?

Think about donating those to your local library. Even if you think the book is too beat up to be borrowed, the library can always use the extra material to sell at their book sales.

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4: Volunteer

If you don't have the money or books to donate, donate your time. The library can always use volunteers and you can always use volunteer hours. Your local library might have a Friends of the Library program or a volunteer page.

Most libraries qualify for the President's Volunteer Service Award. Librarians have a lot of things to do. Helping them out involves you in your community and you'll learn what goes on behind the scenes. Even standing up for your side at a board event can hold back the book banners.

5: Let the Higher-Ups Know You Appreciate the Library

Let a librarian know you love their work. Email the director about the good job their employees do. Tell your city council about how much you appreciate your local library.

Post about your positive visit on social media, even if you don't have many followers. All engagement with your library and spreading the word works towards supporting your library.

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6: Shop Library Book Sales

Have you ever walked into your library and met carts with books that have seen better days, sold for less than $1? Those books are often pulled off of shelves after they've served their term and you can take them home for super cheap. The money you pay for those books goes back into the library's budget to buy new books. Books are expensive these days, so libraries need all the help they can get.

7: Join Events

Most libraries host tutoring sessions, arts & crafts events, book club meetings, Lego workshops, and more. Join the summer reading program. You can also utilize the meeting rooms for your own events.

Every attendee counts. These events help you academically and socially by connecting you with people of similar interests. Librarians and volunteers put a lot of work into designing and running those events. Thank them for their efforts.

You'll never run out of resources that the library provides. If you've ever used the precious color printers to turn something in last minute or borrowed the book that changed your life, let your library know. Your voice matters and every word counts towards keeping your library operating.

Emily Tsai

Writer since Feb, 2024 · 2 published articles

Emily Tsai is a Taiwanese-American freshman in high school who has always harbored a love for English language arts. She lives in fantasy worlds but develops the real one through books and science. Emily can be found at gymnastics practice, curled up with a good book, or scribbling away to study for a looming test.

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