This week is National Library Week —- but you might be surprised to learn what kinds of services libraries offer.
And then you might be wondering, when and how did the idea of libraries even begin?
The History of the Library
Libraries have been around for thousands of years.
You might be familiar with the Library of Alexandria that was unfortunately burnt down in the 1500s.
Some historians theorize that event set humankind back hundreds, even thousands, of years.
That's how important libraries are.
But as for what libraries are today, we have to thank Andrew Carnegie for helping create what they've become.
Yes, you read that right: steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie was not only a businessman but also an avid reader and philanthropist.
After making his fortune, he decided to use his money on his other passion, which was philanthropy.
Carnegie funded the construction of a public library and all of its contents in almost every town in America that requested one.
By 1919, he established over 1,600 libraries — which are currently nearly half of all the public libraries in the U.S. today.
Why did his passion lie here, you might ask?
Because libraries are invaluable!
Your local library is a free community where you can check out books, movies, and music; access the internet; use printing and copying services; and much, much more.
Here are a few free services that you should take advantage of right away.
Computer and Printing Access
Don’t have a printer at home? No problem.
In most cases, you can print your documents at a library for free.
Some may allow a certain number of pages to be free and then charge a few cents per page after, but this varies from library to library.
The beautiful thing about the library is that it is a hot-spot for learning and education.
It’s likely that your local library has several free classes per week on a variety of topics — maybe language classes, knitting classes, or perhaps even a book club.
Some libraries also offer job search assistance!
Is your entire biology class cramming for that final next week?
Trying to find a quiet space so the 20 of you can study together?
Most libraries have large, private or communal rooms that can fit dozens of people looking to read, write, or study.
Not to mention that the library is a great spot for those who work from home and need a change of pace from wearing pajamas on their living room couch!
Academic and Research Support
Basically all universities have academic and research support in their libraries, but if you’re browsing at your local one, there is likely a librarian there who can help point you in the right direction.
After all, librarians are trained professionals whose pride and work is in that very building.
Most libraries also have free access to academic resources that may require a subscription, like JSTOR, a massive database of academic journals and books.
Don’t worry, parents — the library’s got you.
Libraries always have a children’s section where they can play with toys, go on the computer, look through books, or even do crafts.
On top of that, libraries often have children and family-related events throughout the week to keep your little one busy.
Visit Your Local Library Today
Because it's National Library Week, there's bound to be specials and events this week at your local library!
And if you haven't gone yet, what better time is there to join?
(Best part? It's 100% free. Always.)