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Let’s Go to the Library

For those of us who love to read, who seek information, want a little time to sit reading a newspaper in the quiet, the Public Library system is where you want to go. Multnomah County Library is three blocks from where I live and you will find me there most days.

As a freelance writer, I find the library an invaluable resource center. Everything in the known world lives somewhere in a library. While I comb the pages of an encyclopedia, toddlers begin to arrive for story hour, herded into the Children’s Library by parents who know the value of learning and education.

Children are exposed to their peers, other adults beside parents and their first drills in manners and behavior. I took my children from the age of two-years. They were enthralled with the whole idea of excitement and movement. If your child is not quiet by nature, you might want to check the age limits that story hours accepts.

It is amazing what a library can bring you. Of course, the first is books, millions of books that they trust you to borrow. There is no fee for a library card, either juvenile or adult. You simply fill out a card at the checkout desk and the librarian will be glad to show how the system works. Libraries are very lenient about how many books you can check out at once, but it is always best to ask first. Remember, the books will still be there later, so be a polite library patron and do not take scores of books you may not have time to read.

The popular library is the section where casual reading is housed. You can find Koontz, Hawthorne and Dickinson within steps in any direction. Books are catalogued by writer for the most part. So it is easy to just go by the alphabetization of the shelves to find a writer you want to read.

My favorite section is the Large Print offerings. I see well, but read so much that these larger prints are so much easier on my eyes. There is the mystery section, another favorite, where you can find authors also by alphabetization. Try a new writer once in a while, to see what you might like that you hadn’t thought of before.

Most libraries now have movies to borrow. The trick to that is to use a machine and look up Feature Films. Every movie imaginable is listed there. . . most of the DVD’s now. But some VHS still linger in corners. These are the top movies out. They are not all documentaries or heavy subjects. I have borrowed “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “As Good as it Gets, every Johnny Depp film ever made, and many others. And these are FREE. You check them out on your library card as you would books.

There are also books in the library that stay in the library. These are research books from which you can find an amazing assortment of information. For instance, if you are a writer, you can borrow books that tell you places where you might send your work; both poetry and other writing.

Need to fix your Chevy? They have mechanics books. Love antiques? Check out the books on pricing produced by experts such as the Kovells. Want to learn to cook – the library has a plethora of cookbooks, ranging from gourmet to special diets. Every diet book on the market can be found in the library, so you could peruse several to see if they offer anything you might find helpful. Feng Shui? It’s at the library. Ancient Mayan basket weaving. . . you got it, the library.

You can ask questions that librarians will research for you. You can get help on a myriad of subjects – and all for free. The local library can be your best friend and your knowledge base.

Who Wants These Old Antique Books?

Someone not familiar with the industry may wonder why anyone would be interested in antique books. After all, a lot of times the information contained in them is so outdated that it’s downright inaccurate! Science books are almost comical with their rudimentary knowledge of the universe, medical books are surprisingly inaccurate about the workings of the human body and cause of many illnesses, and of course history books seem almost like fairy tales when held up against today’s modern world. But for many, antique books are something to be treasured and they are actually quite valuable to a lot of collectors. Especially bibles and other holy books, and writings of very famous people throughout history; all of these can fetch quite a sum at auction.

Some of the reasons that antique books are so coveted by collectors include the fact that they are so inaccurate when held up against today’s modern textbooks. When we understand how inaccurate medical books were from decades ago, we realize how much work doctors and scientists have done to get to where we are today – and how much more work there is to be done. Some appreciate that antique books are seen as almost elementary because this really paints a picture of the progress that people have made when it comes to science or medicine.

But for others, it may be the timelessness of antique books that appeal to them. When you read the writings of ancient poets and philosophers you realize that people really haven’t changed much down through history.

Where do you think history comes from, of course it’s antique books. In antique books, we can find the laws of the past and the development of human freedoms and rights. You can read about the both the accomplishments and sufferings of people in earlier times. This is our history. It all comes from antique books. Little bits and pieces can emerge from the writings of individuals and groups these bits and pieces make very valuable antique treasures.

On top of all of this antique books are connected to real people who lived hundreds of years ago. Reading one can be like getting into a time machine and going back into the past. Knowing that a book is hundreds of years old, allows us to wonder about the person who wrote it, the people who’ve owned it, the meaning they got from it. Who touched it, who read it, what did it mean to them? Knowing the books people read is probably the best connection you’ll ever have with them.

So where you find customers for antique books? They are all around us. It does take someone who’s interested in history and connecting with past. People who want to transport themselves back to the times of the writer and feel their feelings. These people are fanatical about their books. Most auctions have separate showings for antique books because the buyers are different from those who buy antique toys and furniture. Once you get into this group you’ll find that it is a vast network that will spread the word about newly found, antique books. Most libraries are looking for historical books so they are always buyers. There are some libraries that specialize in historical and antique books. University libraries and large legal libraries are always looking for antique books and texts that illustrate how civilizations and laws have developed. Religious organizations, and many individuals are always looking for ancient Bibles and religious texts. Just look at some of the shows on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic and it’s easy to see how the search for ancient knowledge is ongoing and new discoveries are being made all the time. Just watch an episode of the Antiques Roadshow, they always have a section on antique books. Antique books are hot.

A Superhero Smackdown and Other Great Events at Your Local Library

As the economy slumps, more and more people are discovering their local library and all it has to offer. Whether you want to learn new job skills, need a place to entertain your kids, or are searching to lose yourself in the latest hot book or video, your local library branch likely has something for you.

Library Systems throughout the country are getting creative to entice visitors. In Voorhees, NJ, the library offers a Superhero Smackdown to delight the little ones. Kids can come dressed as their favorite superhero and can make a cape and a mask. Talk to your local branch to find out if they have a similar program. This particular library has also opened a center aimed solely at teens with state of the art electronic equipment, graffiti walls, and diner style seating. Other libraries are wooing teens with lock-in nights in which they spend the night in the library listening to music, playing video games, munching on snacks, and enjoying their friends.

Of course, there are always reading hours for kids, and other unique programs that local libraries have to offer. Not only will you be able to find a free, enjoyable activity to do with your kids, but you can get them excited about books and literature, and start them on the road to reading. Most libraries also offer playgroups where you can meet other parents with kids your children’s ages. It’s a great way for your kids to make friends, and enjoy new experiences.

Riletta L. Cream, Camden County NJ Freeholder, has always been a champion of libraries. “Now, libraries have changed a great deal,” she explains. “They are great places for people to meet and engage in conversation. It’s not the very quiet place that it used to be one hundred years ago when you couldn’t even whisper. It’s a vital part of a community.”

Libraries offer programs for all ages, from advice on finding a new job to help filling out a college financial aid form. So be sure to check out your local library with the entire family. You are sure to find something for everyone.