Things you should be able to do in your local library

Sorry, got caught up with some work and then somehow managed to open the car door onto my head, which confused me a bit. How is this even possible? Still rather sore 3 days on. Anyway, libraries…

Following on from my lecture in the Netherlands, here is a list of things that I feel you should be able to do in a local library. With acknowledgement to Thomas Frey from the Da Vinci Institute in the USA, who also spoke at the conference.

Borrow books
Read books
Borrow music
Listen to music
Borrow films
Watch films
Borrow toys
Donate toys
Borrow a meeting room
Borrow clothes (especially work clothes for interviews)
Donate unwanted clothes
Borrow a pet
Borrow a heater
Borrow a fridge
Borrow a computer, iPad, Kindle etc.
Borrow an expert in something
Eat a meal (especially if you can’t afford to eat)
Sit quietly all day without being asked to leave or buy something
Play with a 3D printer
Build Lego
Learn a language
Learn how to use technology
Find yourself
Improve yourself
Photocopy or scan things
Meet people
Engage in conversation with people that live alone
Exchange knowledge, information and wisdom
Get out of the cold and wet (sun in Australia)
Gain access to pay-walled information – for free
Look up your family history
Access government services
Have a health check
Learn to read
Listen to stories
Ask questions
Use a telescope (yes, at night)
Use the (very clean) bathroom
Attend a local event
Paint or draw
Swap plant seeds
Exchange recipes

Please add some more things under comments…

15 thoughts on “Things you should be able to do in your local library

  1. What about borrowing a hammer-drill or any tools that you don’t really on a every day basis. And the same for gardening tools.

    And what about borrowing things/spaces/tools to promote democracy? Like, anything from whiteboards and staplers to a stage and a megaphone!

    And whatabout borrowing your prejudice! Or a person with a job – wich you, if you’re out of work or in school, can interwiev and find out more about the job itself and what education you’ll need..

  2. Notary
    Borrow a tablet/ereader
    Use a fax
    See an Art Exhibit
    Enjoy historical artifacts
    Attend a lecture
    Attend a performance

  3. Eat a meal? We are dumbing down. Notices against eating and drinking are everywhere. Why trade tools? It’s a library and we are in danger of undermining the educational bias. Libraries were created for this purpose and have recently dumbed down with elementary level health advice with foodstuffs decorating the shelves. Libraries are where people should go for printed information in addition to these exhibitions/sketch shows which should be taking place away from library stock. Library materials risk being damaged and the no eating, drinking, phone calls and conversations rules will be flouted by users pointing to the fun and food demos that regularly take place in libraries, sometimes with the facilitator talking over everyone in the room. Concentration and solid hard work is impeded by the “All things to all men” atmosphere. Paddy’s Market with old fruit adorning the shelves for days. Also, the very clean WC’s. Educate, inform and entertain. Noise, mess and smell. A piggery full of savage customers.

  4. Use the bathroom that is supposed to be (very) clean, but typically gets demeaned by uncaring, un-thinking, very selfish individuals who can’t be bothered to take the time to clean up or not make such an atrocious mess, so that others might use a tidy room to relieve themselves.

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  6. And some more…

    Download ebooks and audiobooks anywhere you are.
    Use the WiFi or one of the public computers.
    Reserve and enjoy books, CDs, DVDs and BluRays.
    Feel good that you reused and recycled. (see #3)
    Search the 1.5 million items in the online catalog.
    Have items delivered to you if you’re homebound.
    Renew items online, by phone, or in person.
    Charge your electric car at the Main Library
    Enjoy an International Storytime.
    Use reliable, kid-friendly resources to do homework.
    Text a question and get an answer in minutes.
    Learn languages fast with interactive, online courses.
    Get help from the ultimate search engine–a librarian.
    Borrow a Cultural Pass to visit a local museum for free.
    Borrow a Kill-A-Watt monitor and save on electric bills.
    Bring the family to a puppet show, movie, or magician.
    Bring your infant to Book Babies and meet other parents.
    Reserve a meeting room for your nonprofit group.
    Take a GED, ASVAB, SAT or civil service practice test.
    Look up how much that Roy Rogers lunch box is worth.
    Attend an interesting lecture or creative workshop.
    Read the Argus as far back as 1894.
    Check your investments or trace your family tree.
    Borrow a potty training kit to share with your child.
    Pick up recommended readings lists for kids of all ages.
    Test-drive e-readers and see an iPad demo.
    Read the newest bestsellers and magazines.
    Create a resume and apply for jobs online.
    Learn about upcoming community and cultural events.
    Shape up with an exercise video.
    Find a list of local childcare providers.
    Read the latest medical research reports online.
    Play board and Wii games after-school.
    Learn to identify the birds in your backyard.
    Study in a quiet place.
    Wiggle and giggle with your child at Toddler Time.
    Use Library resources to start a small business.
    Find out about local community organizations.
    Consult consumer guides to help decide which insurance, tablet computer, car, or washing machine to buy.
    Pick up the Parks & Recreation Activities Guide.
    Get detailed specs, diagrams, and manuals for more than 34,000 vehicles.
    Learn how to help your child gain early literacy skills.
    Receive reading recommendations via RSS/email.
    Learn creative ways you can interest your toddler in books.
    Practice your English and/or Spanish in a bilingual conversation group.
    Update your Facebook page.
    Check out books in large print for easier reading.
    Try a new craft or join a writer’s group.
    Check out your favorite graphic novel.
    Watch your beginning reader develop skills and confidence in the Read to the Dogs program.
    Learn how to navigate the Internet.
    Get materials 7 days a week, after work, and on weekends.
    Hear a poetry reading.
    Be inspired by new ideas for redecorating your house.
    Learn how to prepare your preschooler for success in school.
    Check out a new or old television series.
    Get big picture books for storytelling at home or with a group.
    Pick up catalogs of classes at local colleges.
    Meet an author.
    Join a book discussion group.
    Trek to another planet in a Sci-Fi novel.
    Research a term paper.
    Schedule a Library tour tailored to your group or class.
    Open an email account.
    Share something new with your daughter in the Mother Daughter Book Group.
    Bring your date to a foreign film.
    Attend a seminar about how to handle retirement money or stretch your home budget.
    Charm your students with a book that come with a puppet.
    Learn to touch type or master that new software program.
    Find a new recipe.
    Check out and listen to a picturebook/CD kit.
    Share free online resources and databases with your students.
    Borrow a Book Kit (10 books + a guide) for your book group.
    Sign up the whole family for Summer Reading.
    Bring your child to get their prizes after completing Summer Reading.
    Take a computer class.
    Check out the latest fashion magazine.
    Explore your background with HeritageQuest or Ancestry Library.
    Curl up in a comfy chair near the fireplace in winter.
    Cool off in air-conditioned comfort on a hot summer day.
    Get tips for using a new digital camera.
    Read a local, national, or international newspaper.
    Publicize a nonprofit organization on the bulletin board.
    Find out about upcoming community and cultural events.
    Look up the phone number for a long lost friend.
    Enter the prize drawing for Adult Summer Reading.
    Pick up the Library’s print calendar of programs and events.
    Learn how to take care of your new pet.
    Donate your used books to the Friends of the Library.
    Reserve (hold) books that will help you plan a vacation.
    Keep kids entertained with audio books during car trips.
    Study for a food handler’s permit.
    Be notified by email when items you’ve requested arrive.
    Use a computer designed for people with low vision.
    Attend an annual Winter Reading party with your child.
    Discuss issues of concern with other community members.
    Introduce your grandchild to the Library.
    Stay in touch with family far away through email.
    Show proof of residence and get your own Library card.

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  8. I’m quite late to the party but feel I need to add my two cents. I am appalled at your suggestion of “borrow a pet”. Why would you think it is acceptable to offer a tame and likely dependent animal to a virtual stranger? There are too many scenarios I can envision where it ends quite badly for the animal. How about we “borrow a child”? Think about the scenarios possible there! I hope you realize, without me going into details, what a bad idea that would be. The potential results are the same if we borrowed a pet.

    Gosh, I sound like I’m with PETA but I’m not! But yes, I’m an animal lover, a vegetarian, and, oh yes, a librarian.

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