Last week I registered online for the English PLACE exam- the Colorado teaching exam I have to pass in order to be admitted to the graduate program in education. I'll be taking it on April 9th, which gives me a little more than a month to prepare. The PLACE website gives very little information on studying for the test, despite the fact that they have an entire section devoted to "Study Guides". This section was basically just a description of the test objectives, and then they included only 10 sample questions. I got 9 out of 10 right and I thought the questions were easy, which I think bodes well, but I still wanted a specific study guide.
Here's where I profess my love of libraries once again. My local library didn't have any PLACE study guides, but through the Prospector system (a statewide network for inter-library loans) I was able to locate a PLACE English study guide, put it on hold, and it was shipped to me within a week of my request, for free (I realize my tax dollars paid for the library and its services, but you know what I mean, I didn't have to pay extra for shipping). The library e-mailed me yesterday when the book arrived, and I picked it up today on my trip to the grocery store. In addition, when I checked out the study guide I picked up their e-reader pamphlet, and got information on how my library rents out their e-books. The ability to check out e-books from the library was a big part of why we chose the Kobo when we bought an e-book reader.
When I was googling around the internet, there were no free study guide websites that came up, and any reference to books was within a website trying to sell a "study system" to me for anywhere from $50 to $150 dollars. But right down the street from me I received a free study guide, specific to my content area, that I can have for 3 weeks, and then renew online for another 3 weeks. If you haven't checked out your local library, I highly suggest doing so. Your taxes are already invested in it, why not take advantage of the services? Inter-library loans like the one I did are great for getting around the common complaint of "my library doesn't have a good selection", and if you can be patient most of them will come through within a week or two. One of my earliest memories around books is the day that my Granny took me to our teeny little library to get a library card. I was probably about 4 or 5, and I thought I was so grown up because I had a card with my name on it. That was back in the day when library books had a little manila pocket envelope in the front cover, and there was a lined card that went inside. The librarian would painstakingly fill it out, and stamp it with the date it was due. From the joy I got in wandering the library and finding books, to the ritual of checking them out, to the musty paper smell they had, everything about the library was so appealing to me. Even though I'm not much into owning my own books anymore, I do hope that libraries stick around for a long time.
Do you use your local library? Why or why not?