Re-discovering your local library


I work part time in a public library on Long Island and boy have libraries changed. When my children were younger, the library was a wonderful place where we went to read and pick up books to take home. During the summer, they were excited to take part in a program called Reading is Fundamental, where reading a certain amount of books earned them points and books to keep.
The library is now so much more than just books. Fast forward to 2008 and the library, instead of being replaced by the Internet, has now become a great place for all kinds of programs and community events. I can only speak for my library and my area, but we have something for everyone and there are so many added benefits for those with a disability.

First of all, our library can be accessed on the Internet, so patrons can browse and even reserve books and videos from the comfort of their home. The library will call you when your items are in and if you are not feeling well, someone can just pick them up for you with your card. Check if your library has the same feature.
Libraries today have so many programs for all ages and the best part of all is they are free, so if you have to cancel out due to a bad day, you can just call up the library and back out. So many times, even those of us who are healthy, sign up for expensive exercise programs and for one reason or another we end up missing most of the classes and losing alot of money. My library runs recurring free workshops in aerobics and yoga and you know how important exercise is in order to feel your best physically and to fight the blues emotionally.
To meet the needs of so many parents, there are also many programs for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. These range from weekly story times to special musical or movement programs. For those parents dealing with a chronic illness, the flexibility of hours and times, as well as the ability to get out of the house and meet other parents, are an added bonus.
If you are the parent of a school age child and are experiencing some “brain fog,” the library is a great place to take your child to do his homework. It’s less distracting than your kitchen and the librarian is always around to answer a question or at least point you in the right direction to a reference book that might help. I also see many children in my area who meet after school to work on both homework and special projects- what a great habit to get into. Two heads are always better than one, especially if one of them has a Lupus fog.
I know when my daughter Christine is not feeling well, it is hard for her to read and concentrate, but the library is a great resource for both magazines, books on tape, Cd’s and DVDs. If you are having a bad day, a bad week, or in Christine’s case right now, a bad month, you might find yourself in bed trying to regain your strength and your health. Filling up the hours with some light magazine reading, relaxing music or some funny DVDs from your local library might be an added boost for your morale.
If you live alone, the library is a great place to get out and socialize a little. It no longer is the silent place where older ladies with glasses shush you. Most libraries now host weekly movies which are pretty current, as well as live lectures and other interesting programs. I see many familiar faces at the library covering all age ranges; some come in once a week and others come in every day. There are also many people, believe it or not, who don’t have access to the Internet, and for them the library is a godsend. Most libraries today have on line computers available for their patrons.
So I hope this stirs your interest a little and gives you the impetus to take another look at your local library- you might be surprised at what you discover.
Written by: Janet Miserandino © 2008,

  • Tee

    Many libraries will also make deliveries and pick ups for disabled patrons. Worth calling your local library and inquiring!

  • ConnieK

    I’ve had a library card everywhere I’ve lived from the age of 5 years – one of the very first things I get when I move to a new place.
    My local library has a mobile library which comes to you when you can’t get to the building. I’m not at that stage yet, but I do make frequent use of the online reservation service, where I can pick out a book at home and have it available for me to just drop by and pick it up, without having to use up spoons searching through the shelves. I am able take out 25 books (for 4 weeks) at a time, as well as 10 videos or DVDs (for 1 week).
    The library also has hundreds of books available in Windows Media and MP3 format, free to download. There are also hundreds of computer science books online, going from those that are relatively easy to understand to those for use by sophisticated programmers.
    I’m not sure what I’d do without access to a library.

  • Carol

    I love my local library and have done since I joined it in 1981. My children were at home there and now the librarians still ask about them even though they’ve moved away (DD is almost 30 and DS is 27).
    Being disabled we do get some perks like, not having to pay the fee when we request books and we can request as many as we want and if we are late we don’t have to pay the late fine.
    It’s great being able to go on-line to request the books and to renew them.
    I only wish that we could take out more than 12 books out at a time.

  • *Deena

    My husband and I rediscovered our local library while we were both unemployed. While we use it primarily for checking out books and DVDs, there are several features about this that make it more convenient. For starters, all of the new books are in one section for the first couple of months the library has them. If you’ve read most of the Science Fiction section, this is really convenient! In addition, our library has a “pay collection” of DVDs. These are DVDs purchased sooner than the library is normally able to purchase them, and then rented out at $1.50 for 2-3 days. It actually raises some money for the library to increase their collections, and lets us see movies sooner. It costs less than the local video stores, too.
    I agree that rediscovering the local library is well worthwhile!

  • Beth Lynch

    I work for the Dayton Metro Library, in Dayton Ohio, in the Finance Office. When I started – just short of two years ago – I had the impression that this would be a quiet, conservative place. Boy, was I wrong! We have all kinds of events for people of all ages. We have everything Janet mentioned and more. And we are always trying new ideas to get people back to the library. It’s not your grandma’s library – that’s for sure! And I have been able to check out so many books and articles on Fibromyalgia and BJHS, which is what I have. I encourage everyone to check out their libraries soon. You’ll be surprised if you haven’t been for a while, I’m sure.

  • Hi Janet
    Your post reminds me of a client with rheumatoid arthritis. She was vsery sad when she gave up her job as a librarian 10 years ago because she couldn’t handle the books easily nor stack them. Recently, she was rehired because they needed someone with sophisticated internet skills – which she has! She uses voice activated software so she doesn’t need her hands. Good thing for her they’ve come into the 21stc technology – so she has a job again. Rosalind Joffe