I. Love. Libraries. Whatever town we travel to, I seek out their library at first chance. When a friend asked why I find out-of-town libraries so compelling, I had to think for a minute. So here are my reasons I enjoy these magical spaces in which I can't even earn a library card.
1) Libraries are free
Enough said, right? Of all the touristy spots where you can drop way more than you'd budgeting for, a library's goal is not to get your money. Speaking of tourists, that's another great thing libraries are pretty free from.
2) A library can reveal so much about a community
If one of your goals while traveling is to really get to know the people and culture of your destination, a library is like its heart. I love taking a peek at the programming, community boards, kid's section, and the people in libraries. If a community values the arts, entrepreneurship, theatre, gardening, knitting, etc, much of that will be revealed within the walls of a library. If you're in town for a few days, you may even learn of some cool kid-friendly events that are often free of charge.
4) Off-load and refresh your travel stash
If you're like me, a book or two or three or more are part of your travel gear (yes, I tried all the different digital gadgets for book reading, and, nope. A real book is what I'll be holding, thank you). I've found that most libraries have some sort of book swap, or free library, or discounted book sale, or similar, which can be a great way to refresh your book stash so that you don't have to begin your trip with a chunk of your personal book shelf. This of course works for kid friendly books for your mini travel companion as well.
5) Collect creative learning space ideas
I still get excited seeing the kids' section of different libraries. It's like my inner teacher always get a hit of caffeine whenever I see the creative displays and activities that librarians come up with across the country. Whether or not you have your own classroom or playroom or library to decorate back home, it's still super fun to see and experience the colorful magic.
Check out some of the cool aspects of the Downtown Lexington Public Library, by far one of my favorite libraries we've visited.