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Why You Need The Public Library in College

Updated on November 14, 2016

When I started college I assumed that libraries, especially public ones, were a pre-internet relic that was going to fall by the wayside in a matter of years. As it turns out, books aren’t really the point of a library, they’re more of a tool for the people who work there. If I could talk to my younger self I’d tell me that libraries are awesome, and I should probably go and pick up a library card immediately. Libraries are institutions of learning, and, unlike your classes, they offer a bunch of free services that can make your life in college way easier and save you a bunch of money.

Librarians are Useful

If you think about it a librarian is just another term for an information management specialist. The difference is that the latter group tends to work for big corporations, but the skillsets are surprisingly similar. Librarians are expert researchers and can help you find sources on a vast number of topics. Large public libraries and university libraries even have librarians dedicated to specific fields who are very familiar with important authors and relevant literature on specific industries and research fields.

If you’re trying to write a paper for a class, build your general knowledge, or solve a specific problem, your librarian is a better bet than Google for getting the exact resource you need (often because the source you need is behind a paywall that’s difficult and illegal to bypass on the internet). More importantly, your librarian is the perfect person to help you distinguish credible sources from outdated or downright bad ones.

Computer Literacy and Coding Skills are Free

Besides the handy assistance with finding exactly the right sources that you need for any research that you’re doing for a paper or a project, libraries provide something even better. Free computer classes can fill in gaps that you’d otherwise have to spend a lot of money on, and possibly be forced to delay your graduation for. Specifically, a lot of majors require you to take zero-credit excel and word competency classes, which, for no particular reason, require you to memorize the exact paths for a huge number of functions that normal people just click around to find. Since the test to get out of these classes is unnecessarily difficult, a lot of people are forced to take and pay for these courses before they can move on to the ones that have these as a prerequisite. If you didn’t plan your classes well, this could cost you a semester (or more if specific classes aren’t offered every semester).

Most public libraries offer a large number of free educational services, including computer literacy, microsoft office training, and even beginner’s coding courses. That means, if you’re interested in getting an IT degree of some kind, you can get started at your local library and get a huge head-start on the rest of your classmates.

So, if you’re in college and you haven’t taken advantage of your local library yet, get going and see what you can get!


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