If you’re anything like me, you probably grew up with your face in a book, about three seconds from tripping over your own untied shoelaces while walking and reading when you shouldn’t have been. You also probably really like libraries for the obvious reasons; books and lots of quiet solitude. But besides being a well read and antisocial precocious scamp, I loved Columbus’ libraries for lots of other reasons too; reasons I continue to absolutely love Columbus libraries for to this very day. Being the charming, precocious little scamp that I still am, I’m often thoroughly convinced that the things I love are indisputably awesome. So I’ve gone ahead and crafted a list that everyone can (and should, mind you) agree on.
The Summer Reading Program
I loved being out of school as much as the next kid but there’s only so many times you can go to the pool or attach mildly dangerous explosive devices to G.I. Joes before you get bored with it (38 exactly but number 32 was pretty touch-and-go). That’s when the Summer Reading Program saves fingers. Without a doubt, one of the coolest things about the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries is its flagship summer reading. I remember looking forward to this every year as a kid. It’s hard to fill up those hot days sometimes and the Reading Program is perfect for just that. Not only do you compete with friends to see who can read the most books (nerd, I know) you also get a bunch of cool free junk. Winning.
Caring Associates and Staff
The workers and staff at my local library growing up were some of my absolute favorite people. They go above and beyond to embed themselves in their library branch’s communities.Whether it’s allowing people to put in volunteer hours to work off fines, hiring people in the community, or lending their spare bass guitars to a kid trying to learn how to slap out some super funky licks (I literally never even learned a chord but I did name it Carla), these guys and gals genuinely care for their patrons and you feel that every time you step foot through that thresh hold.
The Variety and Number of Locations
Twenty Three. That’s right, there are TWENTY THREE different locations strewn throughout the entire city, giving you no excuse as to why you couldn’t return that book or video in on time. Oh yeah, that’s right, you can return any item checked out from any location to any other CML location. Super convenient right? You can literally throw a rock in any direction and hit a library. Also, they don’t usually appreciate assaulting their buildings with rocks. Did I mention they usually have on-duty security? So yeah, don’t actually do that.
Because not everyone has access or opportunities to use the internet, Columbus Libraries have provided a free computer resource to the public. In a world that often seems at the mercy of the information super highway, it’s important that everyone at least has the possibility of interacting with technology. Everyone deserves access to the internet, be it to fill out job applications, update their social media, or to bid feverishly on that Nickelback shot glass you just have to have *squints eyes judgingly*.
Because keeping the little ones engaged and occupied can be more than a little stressful, the library offers many different activities to pacify the kids. Just one of those diversion schemes is their story times. Not only is it a nice way to get your younglings to stay quiet, er-, pacified, it’s also a great and easy way to nurture their reading comprehension skills at a young age.
Full Disclosure; I wait until like April 10th to do my taxes, like, almost every year and I feel awful about it. A good way to escape that existential dread is to get a jump on things at your local library. They’ve got tons of resources for you to figure your taxes yourself and many of them even have the forms and whatnot. They don’t, however, have envelopes, or stamps, or a courtesy mailing, or, you know, someone else that will actually do it for you. I know, bummer right?
Adult Learning Opportunities
Columbus libraries offer a whole host of educational opportunities for the busy adult in the city. From computer basics to learning english as a second language, there’s more than likely something they offer that you’d like to learn. So now you don’t have to pretend that you actually know how to use Microsoft Excel or lie about it on a resume anymore. Not that I would know anything about that, or have ever done that, or am currently employed at a job under the assumption that I know any office software whatsoever. Nope. Heh. Heh… Man, it’s getting hot for early March, isn’t it.
Getting Lost Between Stacks of Books
ABSOLUTELY THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. Running your fingers down all the spines of all the books, taking turn after turn down corridors between stacks, running in from a violent storm outside, into the safety of the library and into a cartoon world where imagination runs wild. Wait, that last part can’t be right. Sometimes I do this thing where I confuse parts of my life with 20th Century Fox’s The Pagemaster (It was the most magical film in 1994 okay? It says so right in the trailer). Either way, getting lost in a library is wholly and undeniably delightful and I recommend you go to one and do it right now, and while you’re there, treat yourself by renting the Macauly Culkin vehicle The Pagemaster. DELIGHTFUL.
Coffee, ALL of the Coffee
I remember when I was a teen and the Main Branch Library got it’s first little cafe. I pretended to know what a cappuccino was, quickly downed the thing and bolted between the comic book section and Do-it-Yourself home remodeling section for two and a half hours straight. It is important that I note, here and now, that I have never done an honest thing with my hands the entirety of my life. Not a birdhouse, not a fence, nothing. Ever since reading the Adventures of Tom Sawyer I’ve dutifully and respectfully avoided such things. Still, coffee is amazing and when you’re super caffeinated its fun to pretend you’re being productive.
An Extensive Catalog and Interlibrary Loan System
It’s easy to get an item transferred to another branch for you, and if you can’t find it at any of CML’s locations then chances are it never existed in the first place (a Berenstein Bears book for example). If for some unlikely reason no CML library actually has the items you’re looking for you can request it from other libraries within the state through two different searching systems, Ohio Link and Search Ohio. If they don’t have it, consider writing it yourself. If you’re looking for it, chances are someone else is too and why turn down an easy buck?
A daily Columbus email you'll actually love. ❤️
Every morning we compile the best of Columbus news & events and deliver it in a quick 5 minute read that sets you up with everything you need to be a well informed Columbusian. Columbusite. Cbussian? Whatever, give it a try, you'll love it.