Top Five Reasons to Join a Public Library (or Two)

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Sept. 6, 2022, 4 p.m.
We encourage you to consider joining a local public library.
exterior of Petit Branch Library with teal metal bike rack that spells "books" in the Syracuse Westcott neighborhood

by John Stawarz, Online Instruction Librarian, and Natalie LoRusso, Reference and User Experience Librarian

While Syracuse University Libraries offer access to millions (if not billions) of information resources, we're not able to offer access to everything. That’s why we encourage you to consider joining a local public library, as public libraries offer a wide range of free services and resources unavailable at SU Libraries.

For those living in or near the Syracuse area, this Public Libraries guide recommends two public libraries in particular--the Onondaga County Public Libraries (OCPL) and the New York Public Library (NYPL)--and anyone living in Onondaga County should be able to join these libraries for free. Still not convinced that you should join a public library (or two)? Then take a look at what public libraries can help you do:

#1 Find Your Favorite Leisure Reads

Academic libraries usually contain a fraction of recreational reading material when compared to public libraries. There are many reasons for this, ranging from rigid collection budgets to limited shelving space. However, public libraries have a variety of leisure reading resources, including but not limited to current bestsellers, mysteries, graphic novels, and much more. Check out OCPL’s catalog for all of your favorite reads!

#2 Discover Ebooks and Audiobooks

Beyond the traditional print books, newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials, public libraries also provide access to thousands of e-resources through a variety of electronic-reading solutions (sometimes referred to as library reading apps). Our very own Onondaga County Public Libraries uses Overdrive and Libby to connect library users to their favorite ebooks and audiobooks, all on their preferred devices.

#3 Learn a New Skill with Digital Learning

Learning a new skill has never been easier than visiting your local library. Most libraries have an assortment of learning resources that are available either in the building, or on the go through your personal device. For example, NYPL library users can learn a new language through Mango Languages, an interactive database that provides step-by-step lesson plans for 71 different languages. Similarly, OCPL offers a variety of similar learning resources such as Kahn Academy, a free, online learning platform that covers nearly every subject. From arts and humanities, to sciences and computing, to language arts and economics, Khan Academy is a valuable tool for any lifelong learner.

#4 Participate in Online and In-Person Events

Public libraries host numerous free events and activities covering a wide range of topics and for all ages. Here near Syracuse University, for example, you could attend live jazz concerts, watch the Adanfo African Dance Ensemble perform, and participate in arts and crafts workshops. Online offerings have included book clubs, author readings, and a Spanish language conversation. Feel free to explore the OCPL events calendar and NYPL’s calendar of online events.

#5 Explore Additional Resources & Services

Along with the above services and resources, public libraries have offered fax services, notary services, voting and tax resources, and assistance with local genealogy and local history research.

Each public library offers different resources and services, so please check out our public library guide for more information on exploring and joining a public library near you. Please reach out directly to a public library if you have any questions!

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