Update from 7.13.2020 – Many libraries are offering virtual cards during the pandemic, allowing you to check out eBooks right at home. Super convenient, very recommended.
The title of this post probably sounds borderline idiotic, but it’s taken me nine years to finally get a library card here in Brooklyn, and oh my god WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER. Slash maybe you will read this and DO THIS SOONER.
I consider myself fairly minimalist when it comes to the stuff I own, but books are one thing that have managed to build up in my apartment. Not that that’s bad, but as we approach a decade of living in NYC, I want to make sure I don’t end up an accidental literary hoarder.
Plus, buying books all the time can add up. I’ve pretty much had to ban myself from popping by places like Spoonbill and Books Are Magic, because every time I go (with the intention to just “browse”) I end up dropping in the neighborhood of $100. Of course there are worse things I could be blowing my cash on, and it’s great to support bookshops and authors, but it’s not exactly a sustainable habit if left unchecked.
So how did I arrive at the stupidly obvious conclusion that a library card was the way to go? Well, it honestly took several podcasts and (ironically) books about minimalism and personal finance for the message to get through; after hearing the umpteenth person suggest sourcing books at the library for free, rather than buying them all the time, I got my shit together and sorted myself out with a card.
AND IT WAS SO EASY! Seriously, you just have to go to the website (for me it’s the Brooklyn Public Library, but if you live in another borough you’ll want to go to whichever suits your geographical needs) and sign up, and then you can go to any branch within your borough’s network to pick up your card for free! They give you a wallet-sized card and one for your keyring, and (at least in my case) the librarian will give you a rundown of how to access eBooks and digital publication archives. And that’s it! You’re done!
And the selection of books available is incredible! Books that I thought for sure would be super difficult to find are stocked (sometimes in multiples) across the various branches (you can go to any of them that are within your branch’s network, so any library in Brooklyn is fair game for me); just last week I went in and scooped up an eclectic melange of stuff by everybody from Shirley Jackson to Carlo Rovelli! And while some of the more popular titles require getting onto a waitlist (example: I’m in the queue for Burn the Place currently), it’s pretty fucking rad that they’re available to borrow for free!
If you’re going, “Uhhh…yeah, Megan…that’s how libraries work…” then I’m going “SHUT UP, OKAY?!” Yes, it’s totally insane that my little neurons forgot how a goddamn library functions between the general inebriation of college life and getting on my feet as an adult in ye olde big city, but I did, and maybe somebody else out there did, too, which is why I felt like this little PSA couldn’t hurt! SUE ME!
But seriously, if you haven’t signed up for a library card, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! DO IT, IT’S THE GREATEST!