Thursday, September 23, 2004

I love public libraries

I am a heavy public library user. I typically have five to ten books checked out from the library, plus books for my kids, both for home school and for pleasure reading, plus DVDs, videos, and CDs (listening to a library copy of Elton John's Greatest Hits as I type).

Our local library (Hennepin County Library) is really excellent. They have a great website with a very good catalog system for reserving and renewing materials. Their interlibrary loan participation is excellent: I've checked out books from Yale, the University of Minnesota, BYU-Hawaii, Ricks College, and other places, at no extra charge.

They also have lots of events we have appreciated. For example, I took my kids to a magic show; afterward, they checked out several books to learn how to do magic tricks. They have regular story times where a librarian reads stories to young children and they do activities. Of course, they offer computer training, internet access, and computers for children. And that's not to mention the tax information classes, auto mechanics classes, reading clubs, author discussion groups, research services, etc. they offer.

Anytime I start feeling especially skeptical about government programs, I have to remind myself of the benefits I receive from our public library.