Do you visit your local library regularly? I remember going to the library often as a child but as I grew into a teen and young adult I found bookstores to be more my style. As an adult with bills to pay, I rediscovered the treasure trove of resources a library has to offer and want to encourage you to take a second look as well.
Books. When we think of a library we automatically think of books. Thankfully books are still a huge part of the library — whether in print or eBook format, libraries have vast amounts of amazing reading material. As a writer you can take advantage of this in a few different ways. Authors like Stephen King swear that the only way to become a good writer is to READ READ READ. Many of us can’t afford to buy all the books we’d like and that’s where the library comes in. Read fiction, read non-fiction, read anything and any author you think will help you develop your skill.
Research. Research can be such a large process for a writer and trust me, good novels are not written by authors who relied solely on Google. They dug into it, checking out books on their subject, purusing databases and camped out in the library’s reference section for days on end. The reference sources your local library has to offer contain a vast amount of information, perfect for helping you world-build and create those gorgeous characters you’re dreaming up.
Accountability. It’s not the first thing you think of, but the library offers accountability in that many public libraries have writing groups. Take a look at the programs your library is offering and find a local group. Having a network of fellow authors to support and encourage you through your process is an awesome thing. They’re free and can help keep you accountable as well as allow you to broaden your knowledge and network. Did you not get those 100 pages written? Now you have someone who knows you missed your deadline! Definitely be sure to also check for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) events as November approaches, most libraries have groups that meet then for a kick-off meeting and some may even offer a “write-in.”
Space. Too distracted to write at home? Libraries have plenty of quiet, private spaces to write. Whether you need a quiet room or just a comfortable chair (not to mention the free wi-fi) — take a look around your local library. You can get some people-watching in and find inspiration as you write — you might be surprised at the amazing writing space you can find!
Remember that these are only a few of the great offerings available at your public library. They are no longer just a place of quiet reading. Teens and children are met with open arms and given a wide array of club offerings such as LEGO or Minecraft building events, as well as knitting and other “maker” clubs. There are Mommy and Me classes, workshops on computers or how to build your resume — you can even check out the latest movies, audio books, board games, etc.
My point is that the public library has adapted to the changing times/technology. If you haven’t been in many years you’re in for a treat. There is something for everyone and some fantastic resources for you as a writer. Be sure to take advantage of all the amazing resources they have to offer!