Did you know there are places in your community that provide a safe place out of the elements for you to read, use a computer, have meetings, make a podcast, provide activities for kids, and are staffed by learned superheros who just go out of their way help? Also, they let you borrow heaps of books from a massive selection and trust you to take them to your house to read – for free!
I don’t think I need to convert many readers here to the view that libraries are fucking amazing places. Each month Tough Guy Book Club sets a challenge to all members, daring them to do something fun, different, difficult, or random. This month it was for everyone to visit their local library and snap a photo to share with the tag #ThugLife. Why Thug Life? Because libraries are cool as shit.
The goons turned out in huge numbers. Some snapped a pic on their regular weekly visits, treading well-worn paths and quipping with their favourite librarians. Others renewed lapsed membership cards and rekindled an old relationship with their community book hub. Some joined up as a new member, the first time back in a library since school and were, I can only imagine, awed by the experience, and converted to a life of whispered wonder.
The range of libraries that we got to glimpse from the shared photos was great to see. From tiny out post huts servicing small communities, to grand state libraries showcasing the beauty of book and architecture. Modern glass and concrete construction, to flaky paint throwbacks to another time. There are un-staffed libraries that heighten the trust, allowing you to enter by scanning your card. And even a library with a rooftop bar – fitting in very well with our values of combining books with a beer.
Some went in groups, sharing the experience with other goons for a catch up outside club night. Many were proud to show the fruits of their visit, with an old favourite being borrowed or an unexpected find. Tips were shared to get the most out of the services offered, with references to free audiobooks, e-books, movie selections, and even tool libraries – which are another level of cool. It was also wonderful to see the number of guys with their kids, visiting the children’s section and fostering the love of books in the next generation.
Let’s continue the challenge. Libraries are important. They are critical pieces of infrastructure in our community. Beyond the obvious services offered they are also; safe spaces for those in need, warm places for those with nowhere to go, offer access to ideas to those who want to learn even if blocked by other means and a just fun places to spend time. Libraries won’t get worn out by overuse, they will only get stronger – with more resources and budget allocated the more they are used.
Get to a library.