Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.”
As a newly minted freelance writer, I could not agree more. When I left my full-time editing job to launch my freelance career, it meant curtailing certain (i.e. all) costs, like eating out, cable television, iPhones and mindless shopping excursions to Target. (Boo. I do miss Target.)
Now that we must be extremely creative when it comes to budgeting, anything that is free is like gold to my little family. And that’s where the library comes in. Thanks to our local branch, the wonderful Cumberland Public Library, we’ve managed to score passes to the Boston Museum of Science and the Boston Children’s Museum, saving us $75 in admission charges. Score!
My daughter McKenna — at 5 — is a voracious reader and loves whiling away afternoons lost in the aisles of the children’s room. Thanks to our library, she’s learned about mallard ducks, hamsters, dogs and cats. Made autumn crafts, discovered the wacky Amelia Bedelia, attended countless story times, and got to pet a cool little duck named Lemon.
(As an aside, a recent favorite find is Bats at the Library by Brian Lies. It’s full of wonderful rhymes, adorable little bats and jaw-dropping artwork by the author/illustrator. We discovered it just by pulling books off the shelf. Sort of like a literary treasure hunt).
The cost for all this entertainment? Free. All you need is a library card. At the Ocean State Libraries website you’ll find a list of all the public libraries in Rhode Island. Many branches also host various classes (the Providence Public Library has an excellent program catalog for kids and adults) and book discussion groups, which is nice when you need a little time and/or stimulating conversation for yourself.
You can even reserve books online, and if your branch doesn’t have a copy, you can request that one be delivered to your branch. For free.
For us, our library has indeed been a necessity. We’ve spent many a day getting lost within its walls and out own imaginations. I can’t imagine our life without it. It would certainly be a lot less colorful — and a lot more expensive.
Dana Rae Laverty (www.danalaverty.com) is a freelance writer who juggles her time in between kindergarten tales, blogging, reading, drawing chipmunks in American Girl costumes and playing outside with her family. When she’s not at the library, that is.