Oh, public libraries,

How well you’ve served me for the past 26 years, especially in my early childhood and now in my mid-20s.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” – Shakespeare

National Get a Library Card Month public libraries book nerds

In the beginning, I read books so quickly that it was hard for my parents to keep up with the number of books on my To Read list. Libraries and I parted ways for a while when I was too busy with  school to read for fun. When I did read, I wanted to have my own copies that I could hold and put on my own shelves. Now, I’m letting go of the need to own so much and enjoying what I can get for free, learning how to leave more time for little joys like reading, and experiencing another literary awakening. I’ve used my memberships at home and where I live now to read and listen to more than 25 books this year thus far.

Libraries provide more than paperback and hardcover books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines. They’re also places where:

  • You can borrow e-books and audio books right on your phone and Kindle through the Libby App connected to your library membership.
  • You can get free Internet and computer access, whether you have a library card or not – really important when you are having trouble paying for housing, Internet access, or recreational activities.
  • Kids can get age-appropriate books, do homework, play with toys, hang out with other kids, and see that learning is so, so cool. Some libraries even offer homework help.
  • (And not just for little kids, but teenagers, too.)
  • Really educated and excited folks are there to help you out with your research or literary questions. I mean, check out the stories and passion of my friend Abbey, who’s a librarian for middle schoolers. Librarians can help you find your next favorite book or the books or online database articles that’ll unlock the secrets you need for your next paper.
  • You usually can buy really cheap used books and maybe even give away some of your own.
  • You can go to cool events, many of which are free. I’ve been to a Japanese tea ceremony, multiple movie screenings and discussions, concerts, workshops for creative writing and academic writing, homework help, crafting lessons, readings of books by the authors, museums using tickets that my library gave out, and people in my town can go wherever events they want using bikes they can rent for free for the day.
  • Seriously, to reiterate, the best people work. Librarians have huge hearts and minds. They often are up for helping people build career skills like computer literacy.

And this is just a shortlist.

My beloved libraries, we’ve had a lot of fun together. I can’t wait to have so much more over time.


If you want some of these kinds of joys, start your own love story with the public library closest to you by searching for it here (https://find-your-public-library.dp.la). Usually, all you need to join is a form of identification and proof of your address. Ask what services they offer so you can take great advantage of them!

Emmie Arnold

Emmie Arnold (she/her/hers) is a hospital chaplain in New York; a Reverend in the PC(USA); avid cook; traveler (on hiatus); friend and family member to many; writer; and musician.


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