Libraries are a great and often under-utilized tool for writers. While library books provide research help, libraries offer more services than checking out books. Online databases can be gold mines of information and you can get access to them with your library card. Some libraries even have writing groups or offer writing workshops. These library resources can help improve your writing and help you research your latest book. And with so many resources going electronic now, you can don’t have to make a physical visit to your library to take advantage of the resources offered.
Buying your own books for research can get expensive. So instead of stretching your budget thin, visit your library. You can check the online catalogue from home to see what books your library offers and whether they are checked in or on hold. Many libraries offer ebooks now, giving you the option to check them out from home. Thanks to the InterLibrary Loan system, you aren’t limited to what your closest library has on their shelves. This loan system can be especially useful for those with small local libraries. Your librarian can help you get books from other libraries via the InterLibrary Loan system and let you know when they are expected to arrive. If you haven’t used the loan system before, your librarian can also explain all the details and what to expect.
Online databases can provide resources you can’t get from library books. Databases offer information from scholarly journals to primary resources like old diaries and interviews. Which databases are offered vary from library to library, but with a library card you can access them from home, no library visit needed. The databases provide you with more legitimate resources than what you might find from a Google search or resources that won’t show up on a search.
Finally, check to see if your library offers any writing groups or workshops. Joining a writing group will help you get fresh eyes on your writing and suggestions on how to improve. Writing can be a lonely hobby, and groups can give you other writer friends to reach out to and socialize with. Writing workshops can help you focus on your writing weaknesses or teach you how to look at your writing in new ways. Like writing groups, this can also be a great way to meet other writers.
Don’t have a library card? Get one! Whenever you want to research or read more books in your genre, you can turn to your library without breaking the bank. Need some writing friends or writing help? Use your library groups and workshops to make some new connections. If you aren’t sure what resources your library offers, check the website or talk to your librarian.
Katelyn Uplinger is a literary assistant at Holloway Literary. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynUplinger.