Despite being an avid reader and feeling most at home when surrounded by books, I was late in the game when it came to joining the public library. Even though I spent much of my childhood roaming throughout the seemingly endless shelves of my hometown’s library, I hadn’t stepped foot in a public library for almost ten years until I ended up working in one last summer. Of course, I use Tulane’s library as a quiet study spot all the time, but I had no idea what I was missing in those years when I neglected one of the greatest resources offered to us. My love for libraries was reinvigorated while I worked at the Public Library of Brookline, and now I boast three library cards, one for each place I call home. After recently joining the New Orleans Public Library and discovering what they, along with all libraries, have to offer, I want to convince others to do the same! While there are as many reasons to join as books in the library, here are five simple but extraordinary reasons to get a New Orleans Public Library card:

1. Free Books

Although it seems extremely obvious that a library is somewhere you can obtain books (albeit temporarily) free of cost, I can’t ignore the primary reason libraries are so appealing to me. Although I love my stacks of well-worn, well-loved books lining my room, my want-to-read list is far larger than my wallet will allow. However, after getting a New Orleans library card (which is completely free; all you need is an ID and proof of New Orleans residence, like a bill with your address on it) the number of books I can read is endless, without the risk of going broke. Whether you’re on the hunt for a book you’ve been dying to read or just want to browse for intriguing titles, whatever treasures you find in the stacks are yours to care for for the coming weeks. And for those who love to keep their copies and reread their favorites, you can always pick up your own copy once you know it’s the right read for you.

2. Culture Passes

One of the greatest perks of belonging to the public library is the access it will give you to special experiences in your local area. While living in New Orleans, I have had the opportunity to experience the rich culture here in a plethora of ways. However, there is so much I haven’t had the chance to see: the WWII Museum, the Audubon Zoo, and the New Orleans Museum of Art, to name a few. While ticket prices are less the reason for this than my failure to make the plans, when you’re a college student you’ll take advantage of anything that’s free. So, when I found out you can rent tickets to these amazing locations and many more around the city, again free of charge, through the library’s “culture passes” I immediately became committed to embarking on all these adventures before graduation. So if you need a push to experience more of what New Orleans has to offer, joining the library is the perfect first step!

3. Audio and E-Books

Although there’s nothing better than a hardcover novel in your hands, new technology has given readers even more ways to do what they love. Audiobooks and e-books mean that as long as you have your phone, you have all the books you need on your person. My new favorite app Libby brings all of the library’s best digital resources to one place. Here, you can rent audiobooks and e-books without the charges of Audible or Kindle. While they don’t have unlimited books available, if you have multiple library cards you can enter them all into the app for maximum borrowing potential. Audiobooks are perfect if you want an alternative to staring at a screen or even a book, and they’re great because you can relax, go for a walk, even get some work or cleaning done, all while listening to a new or favorite novel.

4. 15 New Study Spaces

While the Tulane library and the various coffee shops around campus are great study spots, sometimes it’s fun to mix things up and find a new place to grind. Luckily, the New Orleans Public Library has 15 locations around the city, any of which you are welcome to use whether or not you have a library card. Whether you want to stay close to campus or head into the French Quarter for the day, there’s no shortage of new spots to check out. The closest location is right down the street from Tulane on St. Charles, so grab your car, hop on the streetcar, and check out the many cozy areas throughout the building. They also have access to wifi, computers, and plenty of other useful tech gadgets to explore, not to mention plenty of books to aid you in your study session.

5. Break Out of the Tulane Bubble

Between the various libraries scattered through the city and the culture passes they offer, joining the library is a great opportunity to get out of the Tulane bubble and explore new parts of the city. It’s sometimes difficult to find fun, but less costly things to do during the weekend, but all these activities are completely free and the perfect way to try something new. Whether you want to head to one of these libraries to study or pick up a book, go to a park to read or listen to an audiobook, or check out one of the city’s extraordinary museums or attractions like the aquarium, now’s the time to burst the bubble!


Cover Photo: Flickr

About Renee Bunszel

Renee Bunszel is a sophomore from the Bay Area, and an English major and SLAMM minor. Renee loves reading, writing, and eating all the delicious food in New Orleans!

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Renee Bunszel is a sophomore from the Bay Area, and an English major and SLAMM minor. Renee loves reading, writing, and eating all the delicious food in New Orleans!