By Larry Burns | Contributing Columnist
Whenever I pack for a trip, the first non-essentials to find their way into my carry on luggage are books. Vacation time means I can finally turn the last page of those books that have been patiently waiting on my bedside table. These books around my home, often on loan from Riverside Public Library, are a great way to use the library to enrich your travel. But the modern services of your local library provide a lot more to make your next vacation more enriching and less expensive than your last.
When planning our travels, we often dream of scenic beaches, historic landmarks or those quirky spots recommended by Atlas Obscura. There’s another destination that might not be on your typical travel brochure but is equally enriching: Public libraries. These vast repositories of knowledge open doors to the culture, art, and narratives of a local community.
The best part is the universal accessibility of libraries. Regardless of where you are in the country, you can sign up for a library card, and it won’t cost you a dime. So, if you ever find yourself running out of reading material on a trip, remember there’s a better solution than settling for a dog-eared paperback missing the last seven pages you found under the bed of your Airbnb rental. Modern libraries, like Riverside library, offer physical books, but also digital content you can access like interactive children’s books, audiobooks, and movies and TV shows on demand, freely accessible from any internet connection.
The Riverside library has evolved to cater to the contemporary reader and explorer. Those impractical late fees are a thing of the past. With extended hours and more days of operation across eight locations, it’s more accessible than ever and it offers way more than just books.
I understand if you think my Google Bard chatbot made up the next two services available, but get this! Let’s say you do dream of scenic beaches and historic landmarks or inspiring hikes for your next vacation. If you’re traveling within California, the Riverside library has a program that allows you to check out a free pass to state parks and beaches. This two-week pass grants you access to over 340 miles of California coastline, 5,200 miles of trails, 3,195 historic buildings, and more than 11,000 known prehistoric archaeological sites. Do you think you and your traveling companions can find something in these thousands of regional destinations to agree on?
Now that the library has helped you find a destination and provided a free California State Library Parks Pass (if hiking, Riverside library will loan you hiking equipment), maybe you need a new book highlighting that cool dig site or historical building. If so, the library’s Zip Book Program is a boon. Spot a book on Amazon you’d like to read? Don’t buy it yourself! Fill out a simple form, and the library will purchase that book, lend it to you, and later add it to their collection. With the option to do this up to five times a month, you can save enough on books to extend your stay another day.
During a recent vacation to Seattle, my family and I chanced upon an impressive metal and glass 11-story structure, a harmonious blend of metal, glass, and greenery, making it feel both modern and welcoming. To our surprise and delight, it was the main branch of their 27-location public library system. The ground floor was a treasure trove of local artisanal goods and a diverse range of books. We stayed for story time and took in a local author book talk.
Libraries are community hubs. Unlike typical gathering spots, they are free of charge and don’t encourage drinking to facilitate conversation. Their modern designs are architectural marvels, often housing art exhibits that represent local culture, giving you plenty of topics of conversation besides the weather. From media rentals to links to social services, they are treasure troves of information and assistance. They frequently host events, from book readings to symposiums, offering insights into local culture and interests.
An example of what I’m talking about is happening at Riverside library on Aug. 31 called “Ketchup Coffee.” The event is both simple and absurd, two things I look for in good reading and good living. If you are like me, you often cancel and reschedule coffee dates with friends. This event offers a space to reconnect, free from mics and agendas; just free coffee, tea, water, and conversation. Maybe you’ll talk about your vacation!
By hosting events in public buildings like a library, you have more chances to engage in real, face-to-face conversations. In an era dominated by skimming fabricated social media updates to keep up with friends, libraries offer genuine human connection with actual humans, helping us grow more rooted in our community. If you’re looking for an opportunity to immerse yourself more fully into your life, consider making the library part of your vacation plans.
Larry Burns is a writer and artist who draws inspiration from the heady mixture of sights, sounds, peoples and places of the Inland Empire. His current outdoor assemblage project funded by Creative Inland SoCal is called “Making Refuge”. He is the instigator of the aforementioned “Ketchup Coffee” and would love to chat with you there!
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your specific needs. Our team is ready and eager to provide you with tailored solutions that align with your firm’s goals and enhance your digital marketing efforts. We look forward to helping you grow your law practice online.
Blog Post Writing
We do well-researched, timely, and engaging blog posts that resonate with your clientele, positioning you as a thought leader in your domain.
Beyond articles and content for blogs, we delve into comprehensive content pieces like eBooks, and case studies, tailored to showcase your expertise.
Website Content Writing: First impressions matter. Our content ensures your website reflects the professionalism, dedication, and expertise you bring to the table.
Social Media Management
In today’s interconnected world, your online presence extends to social platforms. We help you navigate this terrain, ensuring your voice is consistently represented and heard.
WordPress Website Maintenance
Your digital office should be as polished and functional as your physical one. We ensure your WordPress site remains updated, secure, and user-friendly.
For more information, ad placements in our attorney blog network, article requests, social media management, or listings on our top 10 attorney sites, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.