If you know me, you know that I am entirely the target audience of anything book related. As an English education major, it’s basically my job to seek out cool book stores so that me and my friends can buy expensive coffee and take pleasure in lingering in the shelves of bookstores all over the state. I really do love it and there’s nothing wrong with it. But, recently I was motivated to return to my reading roots: the public library.
I’ve had a card with the Shawnee Public Library since freshman year, but I had never stepped foot into the building until last month. I wanted to get some books to read for fun that I wouldn’t be able to find at the OBU Library (which is equally underrated and awesome). I was immediately helped by a librarian who got me all set to grab the things I needed and set up an app so that I could have access to thousands of eBooks and audiobooks online.
Since then, I’ve been consuming books like crazy. I’ve traded many of my hours that I typically spent scrolling on Tiktok into hours spent reading on an app. Required reading seems much more bearable when I’m doing it on my phone. I think as a whole, people around our age are missing out on using very valuable, free resources.
When I was little, I used to stay at my grandma’s house every weekday in the summer while my mom worked. I remember how, each summer, she enrolled me and my little brother in the summer reading program. I was all in. I loved filling out my reading log and earning prizes for doing something I already loved. Books were a way for me to entertain myself when it was just too hot to go outside or when my little brother had annoyed me into exhaustion. It is easy to see now how that my early exposure to reading in a fun, kind-centered environment set me up for a lifetime of reading and writing. I wish I could tell my grandma how thankful I am for all of the library trips and ice cream cones.
I think of her each time I walk into the library now, knowing that she would be happy that I continue to visit. Public libraries are an essential part of America life. We have access to information, books, technology and other resources that are invaluable for no cost if you live or work in the county or city. At home, the Central Library in Downtown Tulsa has a flight simulator. The educational opportunities and services that libraries and librarians provide are essential.
I encourage you to consider you relationship with public libraries if you have one. It’s so easy to just reach to buy the book you want, but borrowing it from your local library is better for the environment and raises metrics for libraries as well. It is a win-win situation.
If you’re a student at Oklahoma Baptist University, you’re eligible to obtain a Shawnee Public Library card, which gives you access to all sorts of media and services. Grab your friends and take a quick visit to the library and I guarantee you that you’ll find something that you enjoy.