During my growing up years, I used to think that you only go to a library when you need a quiet place to study. Now, stop laughing at me. That was what was preached to me about a library. My belief about library changed in my second year at the University. I had to take a library course (LIB 001)! At first, I was not interested in it. I looked for a replacement for LIB 001. Unfortunately, it was a core course for everyone that attends the University. By the end of that semester, I was a library addict, and I am still one today. I discovered all the benefits of using the library efficiently. The most interesting part was that my grades soared because I found out how to get the right materials from the library to ease my studies.

Recently, while surfing the web, I found some amazing facts about libraries and I want to share them with you. The American Library Association notes the following facts:

  • There are an estimated 122,611 libraries of all kinds in the United States.
  • Two out of three Americans own library cards and use them.
  • Libraries have more cardholders than Visa.
  • Libraries have more locations than McDonalds.
  • The first school for library science was founded by Melvil Dewey at Columbia University in 1887.
  • Benjamin Franklin formed the first public lending library in America.
  • The library of Congress is the largest library in the world, in terms of space and volume. It is the primary source of research requests by the United States Congress.
  • About 80% of funding for the nation’s nearly 15,000 public libraries comes from local taxes. About 20% comes from state funding, and less than 1% of federal dollars.
  • The Boston Public Library became the first library of significant size to open its doors to the public.
  • Librarians hold a Master’s Degree in Library & Information Science.

Top 3 Benefits of Libraries

From my experience with libraries, you would have seen some of the advantages of having a library around you. There are several other gains of having libraries, but for the sake of this write-up, we will talk about the top three benefits of libraries:

  • Libraries revives neglected communities: The presence of a library brings a neglected community back to life. You should know that people on a quest for knowledge can go the mile to get it. If a well-equipped library is built in a quiet community, it is just a matter of time before people in search of knowledge will get drawn out of their hiding places. It fosters relationships between communists.
  • Libraries preserve history-related projects, recordings and artifacts: Books found in some libraries date back to millions of years ago. For lovers of history, the library is the place where you can get materials to transport you back to the year you want to identify with. A library is a place that preserves the story of your community. It keeps it alive in books. Do you have a child that has been asking you about the history of the state you are living? Get that child to your local library and watch his or her excitement afterward.
  • Libraries provides resources for business owners: For the growth of several businesses, the library offers a pool of knowledge. There are several books and journal that a business owner can get from a library about his class of business. It will help a business to learn from people who had invested in its field before. The resources gathered, and the lessons learned will improve several businesses. You know what is in this benefit for your community? The knowledge will boost the economy as there will be more thriving businesses in your community.

How to Make Effective Use of a Library

With the advent of the Internet, a lot of people have forgotten about the libraries in their communities. For people, for who library is just two minutes’ walk away, you should know the right ways to make use of the library.  If you don’t know the effective ways to use a library, going there may be unproductive. Here are ways through which you can make effective use of a library:

  • Take a walk around the library: This walk can be likened to a tour of the library. For a new user or someone who is coming back to use the library after a very long time, you need to orient yourself again. The aim is the walk is to locate and understand various book sections. For example, the rows of new books are usually the first you will encounter as you walk into a library. Your walk around the library will give you the opportunity to see the card catalogs or computers. These two are tools that will enhance your search for a book later.
  • Understanding the various types of libraries: There are different kinds of libraries in most cities. Depending on the type of book needed for the research you are carrying out, you may need to make use of various libraries. If you base your search on one library, you are not likely to get the most of your search. To use a library effectively in this regard, y need to need to use different libraries. Examples of library types are Public, Research, Academic, School, and Research libraries.
  • Leverage on the new computer systems: If you are not used to the card system in most libraries, you should leverage on the computer systems. An effective way to use the library is first know what you are doing. For you to get the most out of your search by using the library computer, you need some knowledge about your research. For example, the name of the author of the book you want or the year of publication will enhance your search.
  • Talk to the librarian: The librarian in charge of any library you go has a wealth of know that will make your use of the library effective. Instead of wandering aimlessly around the library, save you some stress by talking to the librarian.

Top 3 Online Libraries for Students

The usage of the library has even got easier with the introduction of the internet. For someone who does not have the time to go to a local library, you may get to use a library effectively right from the comfort of your home. For students, many online libraries can ease your studies. The top three online libraries for students are Online Books, the Perseus Digital Library, and Columbia University Library.

For any student reading this article, click on the library names to visit their websites. You will have access to several materials that will ease your studies.

Bottom Line

The library has a lot to offer to those that realize that they have a lot to benefit from it. Visit a library in your community, get a library card and expand your pool of knowledge.

Photo Credit: Libenz