In Defense Of Actually Using The New York Public Library

by Christie Grimm · December 3, 2018

    As I write this, I sit in the second floor, gothic styled reading room of the New York Public Library in Greenwich Village. 

    For those looking to reminisce about far more anxious days, camping out in libraries, pretending to be focused on the essay due later that day and not your forever uninteresting Facebook feed, or just looking for a place to kill some time, this is the hot spot to be. 

    Women in thick framed glasses and knee length skirts shuffle around quietly holding stacks of books not even they - professional book re-shelvers - can seem to find the correct home for. Book spines littered with stickers that ultimately mean nothing.

    Long wide tables that stretch the room, with chairs open for the taking attract quite the social study of a crowd. Across from me sits a man sketching an intricate geometric design, surrounded by eraser bits and dust. Next to him is a man watching some tv show on his phone, nodding off every few minutes. There's a young guy scrolling CNN, desperate for a distraction from the notebook full of scribbled math formulas next to him. No one here at these tables is reading a library book. Probably no one here at these tables is going to check out a library book. Everyone, however, is definitely taking advantage of the outlet stations in the middle of the table.

    Cozying up in a cafe, stretching out a medium coffee to last 5 or so hours, sure, it's a New York pastime. Awkwardly hovering, waiting for a seat, staring anxiously at a corner across the room where you've left your phone plugged in. But at some point, one needs to Carrie-Bradshaw-wonder, is there more to life?

    A place where you're probably 8 times more likely to get whatever it is you need to get done, done, the library is 100% worth giving a try the next time you find yourself in need of a change of scenery. No library card? Not necessary if you're just looking to lounge around.

    Though, while you're there, why not take the extra 2 minutes to get one?  

    Sure, it's an Amazon world, and everything is now suddenly cheaper and easier to buy than it ever was before. And while the NYPL doesn't have 2-day shipping straight to your front door, um, you can't beat free!

    With over 6 million books, 300,000 e-books, 100+ online magazines, music and movies available for streaming, why the hell aren't you taking advantage of this amazing deal? Using your local library may seem archaic in a way that not even the hipster set is ready to tackle, but it's also probably one of the smarter things you could be doing.

    [Photos via @thibaultduret, Unsplash]