The library: it’s more than just books

Marisa Silverman
back page editor

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) boast 21 branches across the county and provide quiet study spaces, books, computers and research resources to anyone with a photo ID and proof of residency. According to montgomerycountymd.gov, even non-residents can become a member of the library for only $10 a year.

The most widely recognized part of any library is the books. Anyone can search the online catalog of books to find something to read, and even have books brought to a library branch of their choice. If a library in Montgomery County doesn’t have a book, interlibrary loans can bring in books from Maryland and the rest of the United States. “It’s really convenient. Almost any book you need can be found at one of the branches,” senior Caitlin Chang said.

Libraries contain important resources beyond just books, audiobooks and magazines. According to “Rockville library launches instrument loan program” by Kellye Lynn on WJLA.com, the Twinbrook Library has started the “Library of Things” program, which will lend musical instruments for 14 days.

As a part of the nationwide and statewide push for voter registration before the 2018 midterm elections, citizens could pick up a voter registration form from public libraries, according to rockvillemd.gov.

The book-lined shelves of libraries provide little doorways to their own worlds, pathways to knowledge and a place to escape the bustling world outside for a quiet, studious place to help students succeed and learn. The rule of being quiet in libraries may remain unspoken, as that would be too loud, but it is prevalent in all non-children’s areas of the library. In a world of constant distraction, a quiet, studious place is a respite. “I think other students should use the library because at home the environment isn’t the best to get something done because I have a really eccentric family and it’s a really nice place to get stuff done and everyone is working,” junior Kavya Mishra said.

Libraries also offer classes and clubs from people of all types.

Montgomerycountymdlibraries.libguides.com lists groups that range from English Conversation Club for non-native English speakers to practice with other learners and English-speaking volunteers, to “American Sign Language for Beginners,” and video production classes for teens. Libraries across the county also offer basic computer skills classes for seniors and students alike.

Public libraries, even with teen-aimed books and classes, don’t draw in the majority of teens. In a survey of 50 students, 28 said that they do not use the library at all, 20 said sometimes and only two said often.

With the rise of Amazon, buying books is easier than ever. Books are conveniently sorted into categories and lists, new books can be recommended to users based off previous purchases, and textbooks can be bought or rented. All of this can be accessed from any Internet-connected device. “I prefer to buy my books,” freshman Rebecca McMillen said.

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