Looking for free and easy-to-access resources to reach your personal development goals? Instead of hitting up the bookstore, consider making a trip to your local library. Read on for 5 brilliant reasons to use your local library for personal development.
I’ve used the library on and off over the course of my life.
As a child, I remember going to the library occasionally to check out books I needed to read for school.
In my teens, my mother’s love of books, especially fiction, began to rub off on me. I enjoyed spending hours perusing the shelves, looking a new story to dive into.
When I reached young adulthood, I started college and began working full-time. I was so busy writing papers and studying that didn’t have time for reading anything other than textbooks.
When I graduated from college and had more time to read for leisure, I started buying books.
I wasn’t very budget conscious back then, and I bought into this idea that I needed to own these books in case I loved them so much that I’d want to read them again.
never rarely happened. Honestly. I cannot think of one book, other than the Bible, that I have read more than once, let alone over and over again.
Granted, I didn’t spend too much money on books, buying used at Goodwill and online thrift bookstores. Nevertheless, the money spent added up, and I grew a huge collection of books, many of which I never read and ended up donating back to the places I bought them from.
Rediscovering The Library
Over the years, the library has definitely become more than a place to check out books. These days, the local library is a hub for consuming information in various ways.
Here’s a quote from a Huffington Post article that illustrates this point perfectly:
“While providing books was a standalone function for libraries throughout the last few centuries, their offerings have evolved with the digital age to meet the changing needs of their patrons. In fact, according to an article in the November 2009 issue of American Libraries, more than 71 percent of public libraries provide their community’s only free public access to computers and the Internet.”
This was in 2009. These days, we rely on Internet access not only for information, but also for human interaction and connection.
Needless to say, I have rekindled (no pun intended!) my romance with the local library. Lately, I have been on a personal development quest and have used the library for books, resources, and space to expand my knowledge and improve my life.
Here are 5 brilliant ways you too can use the library for personal development.
5 Reasons To Use The Library For Personal Development
1. Free Books
How much more Captain Obvious can this be?
Of course, the library is still the place to go for free books on every topic you can imagine. From classic personal development books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to newer gems like The Slight Edge, the library keeps the oldies in stock while being sure to have the latest available.
In case you’re more of an eBook reader, the library also has you covered.
With services like OverDrive, you can find digital and audio versions of your favorite books, and enjoy them on your phone, tablet, or e-reader. OverDrive has a fun app, Libby, created especially for library eBooks and audio books.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying books on my Acer Chromebook because it converts from a small laptop to a tablet for easy reading.
2. Free Internet and Computer Access
Let’s stay with the free theme, shall we?
Although it is easy these days to walk into any coffee shop or restaurant and quickly connect to their free WiFi, the benefit of the library’s WiFi is that it comes with computers to use to actually get online.
You can also use the computers and free Internet access to take advantage of additional digital resources that many libraries have to offer.
While this may vary from one library system to the next, many libraries provide patrons access to digital resources that are not available without a paid membership such as:
- The Encyclopedia
- Digital magazines (paper magazines are pretty pricey!)
- Online courses through platforms like Lynda. Lynda is a popular learning platform that provides courses and tutorials in many areas, making it perfect in helping you reach your personal development goals. Many local libraries offer free Lynda access to patrons while in the library.
3. Classes, Workshops, and Events
Libraries are often known for their kid-centered focus when it comes to activities. However, many offer classes, workshops, and events for adults.
Everything from personal finance to writing workshops, tech classes to learning new languages is available and usually free. I came a cross a class at my local library for patrons age 55 + interested in learning how to use social media! What an awesome idea!
For socializing and networking, you can attend free talks and book signings by bestselling authors. You never know…they may inspire you to start writing your own book!
Check out the library’s events calendar online or, better yet, stop by and ask a librarian!
4. Fewer Distractions, More Focus
I don’t know about you, but I can always find things at home to distract me when I am trying to read, work on the blog, or accomplish anything related to my personal development goals.
There’s always Netflix, snacks, and the random decluttering projects that pop up trying to steal my focus.
This is especially true if you live with someone; you can’t always expect your roommate or spouse to sit in silence while you’re trying to work on your passion project.
The library is a quiet, minimally distracting environment to escape to when you need to get work done.
With great lighting, comfortable seating, and big tables to spread out, the library is a perfect place to go to focus. I find that when I am surrounded by others who are serious about learning and personal enrichment, it motivates me.
So, eat a snack, grab your backpack, and head to the library!
5. Unlimited Opportunities To Learn New Things
During my book-buying days, I tended to focus on specific topics and genres because I was limited by my budget.
I would only purchase books that I felt pretty sure I would like based on their similarity to books I had read before. Because I couldn’t afford to buy multiple books, I was less likely to risk trying something new, because I didn’t want to have buyer’s remorse.
Not so with the library!
Not only do I indulge in books and resources that I know I’m interested in exploring, I also enjoy checking out books by authors I’ve never heard of, on topics I hadn’t considered. I can grab multiple books at a time, spending weeks diving into something new. And it doesn’t cost me anything!
To me, this is the best reason of all to make the library my first choice for reaching my personal development goals.
Unless you do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.
– Ronald E. Osborne
Take Advantage of This Awesome Resource
I hope you’ve found this helpful, and that is inspires you to pay your local library a visit today.
Let’s discuss below: tell me which of these reasons resonate most with you? How has the library helped you reach your personal development goals?