Libraries won’t burn your Kindle

I know librarians.

I know Kindles.

I also know librarians who own Kindles.

I know.  I will wait a few minutes for the initial shock to wear off.

I could do with a quick pedicure anyway.  Or an iced coffee.  I can pop out for one while you’re regaining your use of basic mental faculties.

But no, seriously, I get some interesting flak from friends when I tell them about modern libraries and my choice of librarianship.  Standard responses include:

“But, you’re not old.”

“Ohmygawd, did you break up with your boyfriend?”

“Are cats like a required thing?”

But far and away, the most common response is, in some form:

“Libraries?  We still have those?  Don’t we have the internet now?”


Hold on, I’m rooting through my desk for my portable defibrillator.

Okay, LOOK.  I get the whole “I find my information on my own, bitches!” modern attitude.  I know you are a much better researcher on your own than the trained, educated professionals behind the Reference desk.  Especially since Internet searching is so reliable. … But I have to tell you, even though there are still some librarians, library-lovers, and book-lovers who still react to reading technology like this, for the most part, libraries are on board!  We like the internet!  We like computers!  We even like eReaders!

It’s possible that there is someone reading this who has avoided the beloved public library of her youth because Mom & Pop sprung for a shiny new eReader for her bat mitzvah, and now she’s ashamed to show her ebook-reading, tablet-loving face around those hard-nosed Circ librarians (and I get it:  those chicks are frightening, worse than collection agencies when they spy a fine).

BUT, never fear!  Did you know, you can actually now borrow ebooks from your local library?  So not only do you not have to allot around the airline maximum for the several metric tons of books you’re taking on your vacation (or maybe that’s just me), but it’s free, too, and if you end up not liking the book (which I often don’t), when the borrowing period is up, it goes back to where it came from, at no cost, monetary or digital, to you.

So now, there’s no excuse.  Especially since I know books are not high on the list of necessary expenses, even for me.  But it’s not just ebooks, folks; thanks to the Library 2.0 Movement, for years now, libraries have been wired!

Need free wifi but not the bustle of a coffee shop chain I won’t name?  Find it at your library.

No printer at home?  The library has one.

Need a copy machine or scanner?  There’s one at the library.

Need free access to EBSCO or JSTOR but don’t have the chunk of change for a personal membership?  Go to your library, because they shell out several hay-bales worth of yearly budget cash for that pretentious crap.

How about renting free movies?  Or borrowing free music?  I would say the $5 and proof of address for a library card is looking pretty good right now (sorry, Netflix suckaahhhs!  The DVD interlibrary loan system can do this with its eyes closed!).

Maybe you’re tired of sweating in that old, outer-borough apartment of yours, and you just need a quiet place to kick it in the air conditioning with your laptop and some coffee (and most libraries are adding small cafes these days).  Go and claim your spot while this phenomenon is mostly unknown, because I’m telling you:  a place where you can sit and suck up unlimited WiFi for free without having to spring for some danish or tall Americano you don’t even want, or where you won’t have to listen to the inane iPhone chatter of the scarf-clad, Birkenstock-wearing hipster next to you, is soon going to be the hot place to go, especially in this economy.

So you can stop it with those silly excuses.  Yes, we have the internet in libraries.  Yes, we know what a Nook is and even an iPad.  Yes, you can use those inside a building that admittedly looks like it was built in a time before the combustible engine, but cut us some slack.  The books will always need temperature control, which means you can get it, too, and also some peace and quiet (even if you think you don’t want it.)

You can find further answers to your modern objections here, but if I were you, I wouldn’t post them personally.  Librarians and library-lovers can get their back up when they have to point out the obvious.

Even though that’s pretty much our job.

– Roaming Librarian.