Access a world of information for free with your library card

This column, part of the monthly Heavy Metal Librarian series, originally ran in the Get Out! section of the Green Valley News on September 22, 2022. The series is authored by Charlie Touseull, Tween/Teen Librarian at Joyner-Green Valley Library. 

Being a librarian and a book lover, I am prone to book hoarding. I have my own personal archive of things I deem interesting and that have sentimentality attached to those items. Whether it be a hardcover I bought on vacation or a vinyl album I picked up at a yard sale, collecting physical things is something that has always brought me a lot of joy.

When I started working in a bookstore, and later at libraries, being surrounded by the works of storytellers and artists has been the best way to spend a day at work.

In a world that is increasingly digital but has heavy connection and nostalgia for the analog, libraries are the ideal bridge to those worlds. I am sure that you know that the vast Pima County Public Library system has a massive print book collection, as well as a massive amount of circulating DVDs, and other physical items in our collection. But what many do not know is that with your library card you can get free access to our extensive database of online resources.

With your library card, and with a personal electronic device, you can have free access to listen to streaming audiobooks or read e-books all without ever having to go to the library. Just download the Libby or Hoopla apps and find yourself immersed in a world of digital resources. You can watch movies with Kanopy, learn languages and students can get help with their homework. There’s so much that is possible, more than you may have known.

While not everyone has the means to get online at their leisure, public libraries play a vital role in providing free and equitable access to technologies and information for our community. As digital technologies become ubiquitous necessities for education, work and socializing, the library serves as a way to grant connection to those who may not have personal access to get online. That connectivity is more important now than ever.

It is the responsibility of libraries to provide access to e-resources and overcome the digital divide, and to mitigate any barriers that may impede the quest for knowledge.

It is that access to the world of information that libraries provide, in both analog and digital forms that make me take pride in our unique and special spaces. And because that place can sometimes be difficult to navigate, helping patrons connect with that new favorite item is something that I just love.

Our communities are strongest when all individuals have equal opportunities to further their personal, educational and professional goals. Access to information fortifies our democracy in countless ways. Because not everyone can afford to take a trip to a bookstore or buy the latest new item from an author or band, the library is here for you.

If you have any questions about how all that works, you can ask your friendly neighborhood librarian, and they will be more than happy to assist you with accessing those platforms.

Until next time, friends!