If you’re like me, you haven’t thought about the library since college.
Honestly, I think I’ve replaced the idea of a ‘library that you check out books’ with ‘a library is a place to sit and study until 2am’. I distinctly remember thinking, “I cannot wait until I can read a book I want to read and not one that I have to read!”. So after college, I started buying books at Target and on Amazon, bought a Kindle (decided I prefer reading real books) and I’ve spent so. much. money. on books in the last few years.
Then one day I was like, “What’s that place? A library? A building filled with books, that I can go to for free, and read the books… for free?” It was almost like remembering your best friend from elementary school and realizing they live next door (exciting!).
The Chicago Public Library System is awesome. I went in and got my library card immediately, and here’s what I learned:
- The CPL website is how you’re going to find out if your book is on the shelf, and where it’s located.
- If the book you want is checked out already, you can put yourself on a waiting list and you’ll receive an email when it’s ready to be picked up. They’ll put your name on the cover and place it on a “hold shelf” (organized by last name). Then, you go and pick up your book! They actually ship books across Chicago based on where the next hold in line is, so you don’t have to wait too long.
- They have new books! All those books I was buying at Target and on Amazon were at the lib this whole time. Who knew?
- You don’t use a real card catalog or talk to a librarian. In Chicago, even the checkout process is with a machine. (I kinda miss the smell of the card catalog tbh).
I have a renewed love for the library, and I think you will, too! I’ve made a goal in 2018 to read as many books as I can. Check them out here!