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Basic Guide to Using the Library

Lanecia enjoys writing in an effort to inspire others. She has a master's degree in Library and Information Science from Kent State.


According to The Pew Research Center, most Americans tend to cherish the idea of having a library in their local community. The library plays a big role in the development of programs and resources that are useful for all.

According to the study, " 90% of Americans say the closing of their local public library would impact their community and 67% said it would affect them and their families" (How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities 2020).

Today, you may not be surprised to know that the library isn't just for books. Libraries of the 21st century cater to many audiences and provide many more services than ever before. It is almost impossible to go to the library and not find something you are interested in. Keep reading for more ideas to get you started.


Utilize the Reference/Circulation desk

Usually, when you enter the library, you will find that the main desk is centered or located right near the entrance of the library. If you are not familiar with the building oftentimes staff will give you a mini-tour or show you the subject you are looking for.

If you are not sure of what you are into, ask the librarian. This is the person who can help you navigate the through library's thousands of aisles. She can also narrow your search down to specific resources that may interest you.


Make Conversation

Starting a simple conversation can go a long way. If you are not sure how to use the library and need advice about resources, library staff are always able to assist you. Start by asking questions about what you want to know. The library has many avenues of obtaining resources, your librarian will choose what works for you.

Sometimes fellow patrons in the library are knowledgeable about resources and services. Library websites may have pages where patrons have given their reviews about different services and resources. Join the discussion and ask about the resources you're interested in.

Library websites may also have staff answer questions online through a live chat. This is where you can speak with a librarian about your interests to get the information you need. Before you know it you can use the library without assistance and can help others navigate through the world of information as well.


Go to Events

The library has many different events that you can attend on a regular basis whether in-person or virtual. There is always an event going on every week. You can participate in free tutoring, study art exhibitions, hear live music, giveaways, book talks, the possibilities are endless.

These are events where you can also connect with patrons in the community and various library staff. Most of the time you will need a library card to get you started. Ask staff about ways to obtain a library card. Sometimes you have the option to obtain a card online.

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Get Involved by Volunteering

Volunteering at the library is one of the best ways to gain connections throughout the community and in the library system. This also a good way to gain new friends and meet people who care about the same cause.

Ask about becoming a Friend of the library. Once you apply, you'll make a small donation, which supports programs for children and adults at the library. You'll also get the first look at all the new material at book sales.

You may gain tax deductions through the library when you give donations. You get the first invite to any special events. Upon applying for membership you may receive a free gift as well. Sometimes you get to experience many more perks when you become a friend. It all depends on the library system and what they offer to their members for joining.


Utilize the Technology Department

If you haven't heard already, the library has is usually the place to go when you need to use free technology. Computer labs and maker space stations are just a couple of the innovative technology services at your local library. If you are not familiar with the technology offered, ask the staff to give you a mini tour or instructions for the technology you'd like to try out.

It is possible to get help with job applications, email setup, printing, resume building, and so much more!

The library has many resources available to assist you in the technology department. Take advantage of free computer classes and workshops where you can get familiar with technology.


Take Advantage of Information Tables and Displays

The library is the ultimate place for information you can get for free. Almost every time you enter the library you will find that there is a bulletin board or table with some type of information on it. You can obtain information about your community, explore opportunities for employment, and learn about new services provided at the library.

Displays often inform patrons about materials and subject areas included in the library's collections. If you would like to try out a book series, or new movie, be sure to look out for displays.

You can find all types of information in just about any area of your local library. All you have to do is ask and most likely someone will be happy to guide you to what you are looking for.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Lanecia Smith

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