My small town library was one of my absolute favorite places when I was a kid. I regularly borrowed to the full limit of what I was allowed to take home. I still love the library, and the big one here in San Francisco is way cooler than anything I experienced as a kid.

So, on that note, here are 5 things I love about the library…

  1. Free WiFi
    Considering the small town library of my childhood didn’t even have computers (which took up whole rooms back then), you gotta love free access to the Internet.
  2. Peace and Quiet
    Sure, I can find free WiFi and lively gaggles of hipsters and hippies at (respectively) Ritual Coffee Roasters or Farley’s, but when I want to actually do some work, I prefer a little more peace. At the library, you’re surrounded by people who are seriously and silently getting shit done. As an extra bonus, you don’t have to feel guilty for taking up a seat long after you’ve finished your coffee.
  3. “Stealing” Music and Borrowing DVDs
    One of my favorite things to do at the library is to hit their A/V room and borrow a bunch of CDs before heading to a table to work. Then, while I work, I rip all the CDs into my iTunes. Right now, for example, I’m ripping Wilco’s “Sky Blue Sky.” Before I leave, I’ll borrow the second season of Lost, which I’ve been watching with my girlfriend.
  4. Ridiculously Small Fines
    If you put embarrassment aside, the punishment for lateness at the library is almost silly. You can borrow as many as 50(!) books for three weeks, then renew them online for another three weeks, but if you forget to return them for a couple more weeks, you’ll owe the library like twelve cents. And then they don’t even make you pay what you owe. You can still borrow books. OK, I’m exaggerating the lowness of the fees a little – but just a little.
  5. Self-Service
    On my library’s website, I can search for anything in their system. If they don’t have it, they let me search Link+ (a network of 51 libraries in California and Nevada) where I’m almost certain to find what I’m looking for. Once I find something, I can request them to hold it at the branch of my choosing. Then they email me to let me know when my request is ready to pick up. They email me again with a friendly reminder if I haven’t picked up my stuff after a few days, and again when it’s time to renew anything I’ve checked out

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