At the age of 31 do you want to know what my new favorite hobby is? Reading.
Or maybe I should say new favorite *old* hobby because at one point in my life I was a reader. From Highlights magazines and summer library programs to AP literature and a love of learning, I don’t know why I forgot how much I loved to read. College burnout and adult life distractions, maybe.
That was until I set a 2019 New Year’s resolution to read one book a month. One book a month quickly turned into a couple books a month, and now I just can’t get through books fast enough.
Early into my “new” reading mission I realized the cost of books was quickly going to add up. I searched discounted book stores, started an Amazon wish list, asked friends for some to borrow and tapped my unread collection… until finally I remembered a place called the LIBRARY.
I explored the Austin Public Library website, and “Voila!” I didn’t need to buy all these books. I could borrow them.
Genius, I know.
I just happen to have an Austin Public Library branch within walking distance of my house that I just happen to have never considered visiting in the four years of living in my neighborhood. Despite my past thoughts of, “How do libraries even stay open?”, low and behold libraries are not dead… at all.
Austin’s public libraries in particular are bustling… because they’re GREAT, including the little branch in my neighborhood.
Here are a few reasons why I LOVE my Austin Public Library:
- Family-friendly. Lounge in the kid’s section while your toddler plays with magnetic puzzles. Borrow new books for bedtime reading. Attend a family-friendly event.
- Events and activities for kids. Talk Like a Pirate Day. Monthly pajama reading. Babies and books. Lego lab. All different kinds of free, fun events for kids of all ages.
- Events and activities for adults. Continuing education. Book clubs. Puzzle swaps. Yoga. Introduction to sewing (with actual sewing machines). Financial planning. Etc.
- More than just books. You can borrow DVDs, check out a laptop, play board games, stream music… on and on.
- Virtual library. Audiobooks and ebooks (and more) are available for downloading and playing on your computer or mobile device..
- Interactive website and app. The APL portal is super easy to use and robust. There’s even a social component to it – from building a profile to following others.
- Book recommendations. The website features plenty of reading recommendation lists, including staff picks. You can even request a personal recommendation list.
- Review and ratings. Check out what others have to say about content, and leave your own comments as well.
- Build your own lists. You can build and organize your own reading lists for personal reference and/or for others to reference and follow.
- Organize your reading. Leverage “for later,” “in progress,” and “completed” lists to organize and manage your upcoming and current reading. (I’m a sucker for this.)
- Expansive selection. Access to WAY more books than you’ll ever likely be able to own. You can even check out books you might not think about, like a Whole 30 cookbook.
- Save money and storage. This is what sent me to the library in the first place. I don’t have to worry about buying or storing books I may only read once. (For my kids, too!)
- User-friendly in general. Easy to return books, place, pause and cancel holds, renew your items, pay fines, look up due dates, etc.
- Book hold process. Avoid constant checking if a book is available. Place a hold, and it’ll put you in line. (Pause your place in line if you need.) Receive an email when it’s ready.
- Book transfer process. It doesn’t matter where a book physically lives, if you want to check it out, put a hold on it, and they’ll transfer it to your nearest location for pick up.
- Multiple locations. You can visit the local branch nearest to you, explore others in the area, or make an outing to the super cool Central Library downtown.
- A place to work and study. Just a great quiet spot to go that doesn’t involve a coffee line. The Central Library even has learning rooms you can reserve for group meetings.
- Battery recycling. Random, I know, but I drop all my old batteries in the recycling buckets by the front door. Thanks for helping out the earth, APL!
- Perk of being an Austin resident. Aside from saving money on not buying books, all of these great services are a wonderful, free part of being an Austin resident.
- Reading is cool! Our family loves to read. I personally now watch less tv. I learn more. And it’s always a fun outing with my son that’s easy, convenient, and did I mention fun?
Don’t think that this is ALL that’s awesome about the Austin Public Library. These are just some of my favorites (so far). Book one-on-one assistance from a librarian, volunteer, submit a book request, get career support or homework help, leverage bilingual services – so. much. more. I personally can’t wait to explore it all.
And if you love APL as much as I do, make sure to spread the word using #AustinPublicLibrary.