I joined Capital Area District Libraries (CADL) and got my first post-grad library card in 2018! I really fell away from reading in 2017, so last year I worked to make it a priority again. I was part of two book clubs for most of the year, and as much as I enjoyed how they made it easier to maintain a commitment to reading, it gets expensive!
2018 inadvertently turned into a year of refocusing my priorities and carving space for myself again. Book club helped give me a “reason” to integrate reading more permanently into my routine (though “this activity fulfills me” should be reason enough) and, when cost began to be a barrier, the library provided the accessibility I needed.
Libraries and books have always been an integral part of my identity. When I was in day camp during summer breaks, my favorite activity was always library day when we would go to the East Lansing Public Library and I could hunker down in one of the “Teen Spot” bean bag chairs for a few hours and get lost. In college, the most calming study spot for me was the third floor of the library behind all the books on African literature and sociology.
There’s always been something inherently calming to me about libraries. I don’t know if it’s the book smell, the quiet, the solitude, or the sheer number of resources and books available. I’m the kind of person who is basically in tears every time I watch Beauty and the Beast and see that beautiful freaking library Beast gives Belle.
I’m grateful for CADL because it gave me the opportunity to recommit to reading and explore literature without the burden of budgeting for books each month (or week…). Along with access to their digital library and partner libraries through Overdrive, plus a very generous boyfriend who bought me a Kindle, I basically have non-stop access to all the free literature I could ever want.
This is starting to sound like a commercial but I swear you guys, I just really love reading and libraries are a freaking important community resource. For me, they feed a chronic reading addiction and provide convenience and cost effectiveness, but libraries play an essential role in many people’s everyday lives. They make things like internet, diverse media, quiet work space, and more available to people for free, making opportunity and entertainment available to almost everyone.
Without CADL, it would have been so much more challenging for me to experience all the books I did in 2018. Especially because I’ve finally embraced alternative reading experiences like e-books and audiobooks (pro-tip: audiobooks are a great way to get through distance runs when you want to forget you chose to train for another freaking half-marathon), I’m able to enjoy so many more stories than I otherwise would.
I still hope to one day have a great home library of my own, but let’s be real: ain’t gonna happen in a two-bedroom apartment on a 24 year old’s budget. Besides, supporting CADL means I can support access to literature and stories for the rest of my community, and that is super important to me. 2019 is off to a great reading start (you can follow my latest literary adventures on Goodreads!), and I’m excited to use my local library even more this year than I did in 2018.
Are you a member of your local library (if not, you should be!)? What was your favorite 2018 read, and what are you excited to read in 2019?
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