Like a lot of people who work from home every now and then I need a change of scenery and a stale chain book store with overpriced coffee…doesn’t cut it. My community library, however, with its unique flair does. My love affair with public libraries began when I was a child and has yet to waver – even with the flood of summer tourists who also like to work from the library.
Who can blame them? In need of a break; just walk through the stacks and your summer reading list will be more diverse than you thought possible. Between books, e-books and digital audiobooks I can download to my phone and listen to as I work…well, I am lightyears ahead of where I thought I’d be with my summer reading.
There are 22 branches in the county library system where I live and I’ve worked from at least half of them. From knitting clubs to children’s story hours and community-based groups for teens, each library has its own unique personality. Every April, the American Library Association releases its state of libraries report based on the prior year. The 2016 report showed libraries enhance education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement for its customers while creating a digitally comprehensive society.
The library, as always, sparked my curiosity and when I needed a break from writing recently, I decided to do some online trolling about libraries. Here are some interesting tidbits:
The oldest library in the word is at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. Built in the middle of the 6th century, it is home to the second largest collection of religious material in the world. Only the Vatican has more. It’s accessible to only monks and invited scholars.
The oldest PUBLIC library is the Library of Paris and the National Library of France combined. It’s been in continued operation since 1368 when it was located at the Louvre.
With 838 miles of bookshelves, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Its collections include more than 35 million books, 3.5 million recordings, nearly 14 million photographs and 69 million manuscripts.
There are roughly 150 libraries globally where you can check out a human being as a living book.
The Oakland Library (CA) offers a “tool lending library” of 3,500 tools available to the public.
The Bible, followed by the Guinness Book of World Records, is the most stolen book from libraries.
There are more than 30,000 recorded Little Free Libraries worldwide. (Thinking about doing this myself. Stay tuned).
If you haven’t visited your local library, run do not walk! You may be surprised at all they have to offer and wonder why you stayed away for so long. If you think, Amazon is the only place for cheap books – you’re sadly mistaken… time is the commodity spent in the library, and it is worth every second. I promise!