Day 84: Visit a Public Library

The Public Library

DAY 84 ACTION: Learn more about the public library and its role in your community. Make sure you have a library card, and check out a book to read!

Children line up in front of the Brownsville Public Library. When this Brooklyn-based library opened in 1914, it was thought to be the first kids-only public library in the world.

‘The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.’ – Albert Einstein

It’s National Library Week! And while our President doesn’t read, public libraries play a vital role in our communities and in American history.

In 1731, Benjamin Franklin helped found the Library Company of Philadelphia, a lending library providing free access to books. This may have been the first public library, an American institution now replicated around the world. (The LCP was supported by shareholder subscriptions; local government funds today’s libraries.) The US has more public libraries than McDonalds restaurants.

Libraries serve important roles in the community. They host children’s book events, social programs for the elderly, and classes. They offer computers and Internet access, so members can apply for jobs or do schoolwork. More recently, public libraries have stepped up to debunk fake news and provide sanctuary spaces for immigrants.

Find your local library on this list and see what programs they’re offering! Apply for a library card if you don’t already have one, and check out a book to read. It may not be satisfying in quite the same way as burying the White House in an avalanche of books, but it’s close. We promise.

Today’s Action: Learn more about your local library and get involved! Check out a book to read, attend a library event, or volunteer. In this age of fake news, celebrate the public library’s role in providing free access to quality information.

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