October 31, 2014

Libraries are great things

By Jessie Tobias
Staff Writer
Posted 10/19/11

I never had a problem with writing papers in high school. I scoffed at page requirements. Give me a topic, my high-school self brazened, and I’ll write till the cows come home.

Did those high school papers make sense? Sure. Were they focused discussions, leading to an overall conclusion and including numerous examples supporting that conclusion?

No. No they weren’t.

As you can imagine, the first college research paper I turned in did not receive an A+. I was befuddled by the intricacies of MLA and APA styles. What did I do, you ask?

I went to the library.

In fact, one of the first things I did at Northern Michigan University was find the campus library. It was an invaluable resource, and I spent a lot of time there. With a MLA stylebook and by reading many examples, I taught myself how to write a really exceptional (at least I like to think so) college paper.

There are a lot of things you can learn at a library. I learned most of my grammar and language skills simply from reading books. And books, as it turns out, can be found at the local library.

I read a lot as a kid, and I read a lot as an adult. Heck, it’s how I make my living. And as an avid reader, I am a strong supporter of public libraries.

Libraries are an example of our tax dollars at work in service to the community; they have become hubs of activity, providing residents with kids programs, internet access, public presentations, and conference rooms, as well as shelves and shelves of lending material.

And if all of those reasons aren’t enough—did I mention they have books?

Books are fascinating gateways into the past, the present, and even the future. It’s the only way I know of (that actually exists) that you can hear someone else’s thoughts, and view the world the way people who lived hundreds of years ago viewed it. Books are a way to get in touch with past ways of life, and speculate about what will come next.

They’re also great teachers. You can learn as much (or more) from a book than you would from a dozen college lectures from a professor who’s more concerned with his next tenure hearing than the class of students in front of him.

The best part? There are books about ***everything. The least little thing you’d care to know about, and probably very many things you’d like to know less about, have been written about and published.

Looking for a novel? A video? Want to find out more about your community? Need an instructional pamphlet on underwater basket weaving? Sounds like a great reason to visit your local library.

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