For Love of the Library

Posted By Whitney | 10 comments

For years now, I’ve been a very very committed buyer of books. I’m obsessed with Amazon, Powell’s, local bookstores like Kramerbooks in DC, and so many more. I feel like by buying books, I’m supporting the authors I love (and an industry that I love, for that matter).

But when money suddenly became a little tight, I knew that I could not maintain my book buying habit. I mean, let’s be honest – this past week alone I read five books. That’s unsustainable if you’re buying them full price from pretty much any retailer.

So when it came time to pick up my monthly #ReadwithIBC books, I had a momentary panic.

And then I remembered that libraries exist.


I actually live in the neighborhood of one of the oldest and most awesome libraries in the country – the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The Enoch Pratt was founded in 1882 following the financial endowment from Enoch Pratt – who called for a public circulating library that (as he described) “shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them.” And thus, the Enoch Pratt was born.

Today, Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt system includes 22 community and regional branches, and continues to be housed at a monumental central building that takes up most of a city block in the historic Cathedral Hill.

I wandered into Enoch Pratt with proper documentation (kind of excessive, actually), and picked up the first library card I have had in about a decade.

Although Kate will probably give me a solid teasing for it, I had really forgotten what an amazing resource our public libraries can be. The last couple months of wandering the stacks, consulting with the librarians, and chatting with fellow community members has opened my eyes to countless new books.

As a child of the 90s, I was a dedicated library goer. I don’t think that anyone (bookworm or not) got out of the 90s without participating in Book It! at least one summer (btw, apparently their reading challenges still exist for kiddos). I remember coming in and digging around for the perfect book, finding all of my favorites again and again, and listening to the librarians and volunteers reading aloud. I suppose a lot of people rediscover a love of libraries after having kids, but I’m happy to have made my own rediscovery.

Do you still have a library card?


  1. I was going through cards in my wallet the other day and found my library card. I haven’t been to the library since you were in high school though.

    By the way, the picture on the card looks so young!!

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    • You should go to the library! I’ve heard the remodel is pretty amazing! I know that our library also does digital rentals, so you could pick up things for your kindle!

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  2. I haven’t teased you yet. I’ll give you a pass since you came home to a library and are spreading the word of how awesome they are! I can’t geek out enough about libraries and how important they are to us/we are to them. Check back with your library in summer; chances are they have an Adult Reading Challenge where you can win awesome prizes (although never quite as cool as those personal pan pizzas I remember so fondly…)

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    • Ooh, I’d be all over a summer reading challenge for adults! That’s something I could totally win!!

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  3. I still have a library card (technically three because I’ve moved a few times in the past couple of years). I use the library much more now that I’m out of school and have more time to read. I use it to read physical books but I also think it is a great way to read on your Kindle. The DC public library has a great selection of eBooks that you can download even when the library is closed.

    I love the blog, Whitney!

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    • Thanks Ashley!! I’m headed back to DC proper this summer, so I’ll have to befriend a whole new library :mrgreen:📚

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  4. I still have my library card from 2001, and I will bite anyone who tries to switch it out for a new fancier library card. :p I happen to (and I’m not even sure why!) live in a mid-size town that has by far the best public library system of anywhere I’ve lived in terms of selection, availability, staff responsiveness, and speed of holds getting from one branch to another. IT IS THE BEST. LIBRARIES ARE THE BEST.

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    • Lol, this reminded me – when I was younger I held on to the library card I got when I was in kindergarten for SO LONG. I didn’t want to give up this hilarious picture of a five year old. I wonder what happened to it?

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  5. I have a library card out here, and even though our local library went through a beautiful remodel lately, we still don’t go! We are total book hoarders, enabled by our proximity to Powell’s where we can often get used books at great prices. But your post made my partner and I decide to start having Library Day once a week! So thank you!

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    • Ugh, Powell’s is pretty darn addictive, but yes! Library day!!

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