Thursday, March 3, 2011

5 Weeks and 2 Days, or, I Love My Library

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?


  1. I love the library! Having done an English degree, reading is fairly high on my list of 'enjoyable things to do' and apart from the financial and environmental cost of owning books, I love wandering in the library and taking out something unexpected - it's low commitment that way!

  2. Yes, exactly! I can wander around for as long as I want, check out as many books as I want, and if I get home and read three chapters and don't like it, no harm no foul- I just take it back and get another.

    The library that I most frequently use is a short bike ride away and is near the grocery store I use, so it's perfect. I especially love their "New Releases" section, I rarely have to wait for even the most recent books, and any time I've put a hold I've gotten the item within a week. I can be patient for a free book :)

  3. I began using my library heavily several years ago just after I learned they took requests for items. They have a TON of documentary films, the Great Courses series and even magazines to checkout too!

    They also have an ebook/downloadable audiobook collection, but, even though I've been investigating the ereaders, I haven't made the leap.....yet.

  4. I love my e-reader! I never thought I would but the Kobo is very simple and exactly what I needed. I like that it doesn't try to be anything other than an electronic book- no keyboards, no 4G, it has an open platform so I can check out books from my library, or download free books from Google Books. It's awesome.