The Book Smell: Gratitude for the Toronto Public Library

My Gramma still tells the story of how she encouraged me to learn to read. She agreed to buy me a new book for every one that I finished – the deal quickly became quite expensive for her as I would read anywhere and everywhere, blowing through Judy Blume, Ronald Dahl and E.B. White like nobody’s business. So at the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to make more time for this beloved activity.

Now that I have to buy my own books, a friend suggested I get a library card and read for free. What a novel concept (who doesn’t love a good pun?)! Here’s what I’ve discovered about Toronto Public Libraries (and those in other municipaltiies) and why I’m grateful for them:

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1. FREE books.
Duh – they’re free, people! Name other things you can get for free these days. Exactly.
Please note, they will not be free if you return them late…or don’t return them at all.

2. I’m not there to write a paper.
I maintain that my years of schooling created a library aversion. Now that I’m older and far enough away from my undergrad, I appreciate the library.

3. They’ve gone digital.
Don’t have the time to go and peruse your local library’s selection? Log into your online account and request your items for pickup. You’ll receive an email when they arrive and you can simply grab your order off a shelf and use self checkout  to sign them out – you don’t even have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to! You can borrow and download books for your e-reader AND get audio files as well.

4. Book Smell
This is one of my all time favourite scents. And yes, sometimes the library has many other scents and odours, but I maintain that this one is abundant in all TPL facilities. Apparently bugs can also be prevalent, but according to my well-informed sources, they’re dead bugs so it’s okay.

5. Toronto Reference Library Events.
I’ve had a booked signed by Lena Dunham, met Kate Mulgrew (the notorious “Red,” from OITNB), and tonight, I get to see Judy Blume…FOR FREE! A friend introduced me to the series and I was definitely missing out. Check out the upcoming events at Toronto Reference for Fall 2016.

I think we’ve taken libraries for granted. Go get a card and express your gratitude for what they give you – a wealth of knowledge, a quiet refuge, free public service, and great book smells. What is your favourite thing about the library?


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