Beautiful, bountiful books (& more!)

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! This month my theme is Library Love, focusing on my love of libraries generally, as well as for the Sacramento Public Library (my local library) more specifically. I hope you find these posts informative as well as fun, and that they encourage you to visit your local library to see what’s new.

Today’s topic is obvious: If you love libraries, you’ve likely been drawn in by all the free BOOKS.

Library detractors (i.e. the kinds of folks who haven’t set foot in a library since they were kids and complain about our tax dollars funding them) grumble: “Why do they still exist? They’re just piles of books, and we have The Internet!”

Wrong, and wronger.

First, libraries aren’t just books, although we do tend to have a lot of those. Libraries also house:

  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • audiobooks
  • VoxBooks (books that will read the story aloud, sometimes in multiple languages!)
  • computers (including some you can check out)
  • tablets
  • mobile hotspots (offering Internet access to folks who can’t afford it)
  • state parks passes
  • cake pans
  • games (board and video!)
  • seeds
  • museum passes

Plus a wide variety of Things (stay tuned for my T post for more info!) that people can check out for use at home.

Not to mention all of the digital offerings you can access anywhere with a library card like ebooks, eAudiobooks, specialized databases, and streaming music, movies and TV shows!

Libraries offer both physical and digital materials, so that folks can access information and services in whichever way is most convenient for them. Modern libraries are not restricted by physical location, and during the pandemic this became incredibly important, allowing patrons to access their items from the comfort of home even while the physical branches were closed.

But even more importantly than offering a wide variety of materials, there’s also the fact that libraries cannot be replaced by even the most free and unfettered access to the internet, because although there’s tons of information available online, there’s also a lot of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and simply unverified nonsense. Libraries are places in our society that are dedicated to helping people find the best information available, not just the most easily grabbed stuff you can find at the top of a quick Google search.

Libraries are places that help encourage and educate patrons about the concept of information literacy, being able to identify reputable sources of information and sort facts from fiction. They’re places that help enable a more equitable distribution of access to that kind of information, by offering computers and internet access for free to patrons in their physical branches or through wireless hotspots that extend access to a patron’s home.

Libraries are definitely all about books, still and always. But they’re also so much more. And that’s why I’m sharing my Library Love this month!

Fast Facts

Some Sacramento Public Library trivia for you: SPL is home to more than 1.5 million items, all available for free 3-week checkouts with a valid library card.

All you need to do to sign up for a Sacramento Public Library card is a) be a resident of Sacramento County and b) fill out this form.

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to sharing more library trivia, tips and tricks for getting the most out of your local library — using all their awesome and often unpublicized free resources — throughout the month of April. “C” you tomorrow for a fresh new post!