Maybe you haven’t been to a library in a while. Perhaps you remember them as being filled with rows of Dewey Decimal card catalog shelves, and creaky old microfische viewers. Maybe you think of them as being a place old people go to read newspapers, or kids go for story time. And some of these things may still be true in some libraries. But overall, the American public library system has been slowly but surely upgrading over the last decade, and now most of them are much more modern, filled with free-to-use computer stations and well-organized banks of research.
Because of Google and Wikipedia, some people may not see how an old fashioned library can be that helpful. But I assure you, your local library has a lot more to offer than most people think, and if you are attending school on line, this is a resource you really need to consider using on a regular basis.
Librarians – These men and women went to school for years studying library science. Better than anyone, they know how to find what you need in the massive storehouse of books and information inside their library. And you know what else? It’s their job, and most of them love their job. Don’t hamstring yourself by trying to track down the research alone – step up and find a good librarian to help you along.
Free Books! – Text books are insanely expensive. Any one who has gone to college ever can tell you that. Usually a library won’t carry the latest edition of a textbook, but they often times carry older editions. That means you won’t be able to skip buying your texts and just check them out from the library (and believe me, I tried several times); unfortunately, you will have to plunk down the money for the required text for the class. But rare is the class you can do well in with just the one book. The library is where you can go to save money on all the other books that aren’t required for the course, but can be greatly helpful. And who knows, maybe you’ll strike gold and be able to find that ninety dollar biology textbook you need sitting there on the shelf. I never did, but maybe you will get lucky.
Peace and Quiet – There is something to be said for clearing your head and finding a nice quiet place to hunker down and study. Even if you live alone, and don’t have the distractions of a roommate, spouse, family, or children, if you study at home there is always the distraction of the TV, your gaming console, or Facebook. Quite frankly, sometimes home is a terrible place to focus on your studies. Going out to a library may be the change of scenery you need to help get you over the studying hump. Bring your laptop, your course material, and find a nice quiet corner to settle down and go over your notes or your books. Even if you don’t use any of the library resources, the library itself can help you focus. And might I add, you can use a local college or community college library as well as a public library for this purpose. Even if you can’t check out books, you can still use the peace and quiet.