Libraries are a Super Awesome, Under Utilized Creative Space

Photo Credit: Me, Williamsburg Public Library, 12/16

According to history libraries began as early as 2600 BC in Mesopotamia and originated as a place to collect public and non- public documents. I assume because where else were they going to put them? That shit adds up.

Over centuries and decades and more centuries and decades, libraries slowly began to spread out all over the world. Over the course of a heap ton of time libraries changed from documents to scholarly education, and to the present day of books, educational resources and research materials.

Then something happened. Modern technology. People no longer needed the resources at the library. Thanks to the internet you can now research at home, download books to your Kindle and have answers to any and every question (right or not) via Google on your cellphone in the palm of your hand. For real, tho. What a debacle of misinformation.

Regardless, that doesn’t necessarily compete with the novelesque idea of a library. For one, libraries offer free classes! Yes, that’s right. Free classes. Recently at my local library I took a cooking class, financial planning, wine glass painting, storytelling and a gardening class. That’s a solid education for a middle aged woman like myself.

Coming up in August, Historian Kathy Wilson will discuss the reality of running a house like Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey. Sounds cool, right?

Yet on all accounts, I have been one of only five that show up for each event. What is going on with the world?

I make it a point to spend at least twenty hours per week writing at the library. There’s something about being surrounded by all those books and their hundreds of thousands of pages filled with adventure, history and education that ignites my creative fire.

It’s my safe place. The public library in this mini- town is located a mere 0.4 miles from my home. It’s within my realm of agoraphobia which only adds to its awesomeness. It’s in walking distance so I can force myself there when I’m in a bout of vomit inducing panic and too scared to get in the car.

It’s even got this kick ass reading space complete with a fireplace to keep me cozy during Iowa’s subzero winter months. Family getting on your nerves? The library. Need some space from reality? The library. Motivated by cool shit? The library.

It’s a quiet and comfortable place because there’s rarely anyone there other than teenagers skateboarding in the parking lot, my son included.

I read the Farmers’ Almanac one day when I was there. Under no circumstances whatsoever would I have ever read it if not for the library. It was seriously so boring. Proof the library is inspiring.

I love the idea of walking up and down the aisles with no preconceived idea of what I’d want to read. I’ll know it when I find it and their borrow policy is like nothing else in 2018, allowing me to check out up to 45 items at a time, for free.

On days I wake up feeling unmotivated and depressed I walk down to the library, sit and read the daily newspaper and enjoy free coffee and popcorn. Two food items that don’t mix, but whatever. I imagine their doing anything to lure people in.

I joined the book club. Yes! There are still in person book clubs out there in the world. It’s a great opportunity to read a book I may have not ever heard of otherwise and the dialog of the group contributes to expanding my horizons as a writer.

Not only that, but when I’m researching I’m not weeding through all the crap and biased news media on the internet, or finding myself lost on Facebook watching Sponge Bob videos.

I’m acquiring information from recently published or consistently updated books, scholarly journals, periodicals and literary journalism pieces where journalists actually chased down the story, investigated, conducted interviews and published all of this information for readers to use critical thinking skills and determine what we believe is the truth.

#Dictionary. Mm, that amazing book smell, the crisp feel of pages beneath my fingertips- All. The. Words.

You can check out movies on DVD, TV series, audio books and music on CD for free and for seven days. Dope AF. Why would you go to Red Box or stream anything when you can utilize the library.

Most importantly and never to be forgotten, not only do the walls of the library hold hundreds and thousands of years of our history, but libraries themselves are a part of our history.

Let’s keep in touch! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Check out more stories and artwork at All Things Creative, right here on Medium:)

All photo credit goes to me and were taken at my local public library.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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