Believe it or not, trips to the library are the most common cultural activities Americans engage in. Americans go to the library more times every year than they go to the movies, theme parks, museums, or national parks. And it makes a lot of sense. Really think about what a library does nowadays. Yes, you can check out books — an important service that should never be downplayed.
But you can check out movies, which comes in handy when your favorite movies don't currently have a home on any of the streaming services you own. When your WiFi fails you, the library has you covered when you have a big assignment due.
Parents can bring their little ones in for crafts and storytimes, which any parent would tell you is immensely helpful, as it also serves as a meeting place for parents to connect.
It's a place for all kinds of communities to connect, especially as many libraries offer basic classes for free, like computer classes for seniors.
All of these reason and more are why National Library Week exists, but, unfortunately, getting to your local library during the COVID-19 pandemic just isn't possible. But that doesn't mean you can't try these activities at home to celebrate all libraries do.
Check out your local library for online events.
First things first, check out your local library for events to kick off National Library Week. There's a good chance that your library has moved quite a few things online since having to close due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Parents missing story time may find that their library is still hosting it — just over an online server! If you don't know what library's website to check out, you can find your local library here.
Explore art through Getty.
The Getty Center is a pretty incredible museum, but it's more than that. In fact, there's a whole library online full of books that you can download for free on everything from architecture to modern art. Not only that, but you can also explore some of the Getty's exhibits from home, helping you learn even more about the subjects you're reading about.
Read along with the New York Public Library.
While you do need a library card to check out ebooks from the New York Public Library and therefore be a New York resident, you don't have to be one to join in on their storytimes! If your local library isn't putting on storytime and your little ones are missing it, check out the ones that the NYPL has been putting on. They all exist on the NYPL's Vimeo channel, but you can find the most recent ones here. Even cooler, they also host bilingual storytimes.
Download thousands of books from the Digital Public Library of America.
Now's a pretty good time to fulfill that promise you made earlier this year that you'd read a book a month. We all make that promise and, usually, we fail pretty fast, but now's a great time to try again. The Digital Public Library of America houses thousands of books that you can read online, both new and classics. You just might discover a new favorite in a classic story.
Join a Quarantine Book Club.
Reading is a great way to connect with others, especially during a time when we struggle to feel connected. That's why social distancing book clubs like the Quarantine Book Club are a pretty brilliant idea. Grab a book from your local library's online options and connect with a group over Zoom. You can start your own among friends or join an already established one.