Why It’s Time to Start Appreciating Your Local Libraries


The exterior of the Flemington Free Public Library

With the rise in the accessibility of technology, local libraries have been hit hard as many readers have made the shift to reading Ebooks rather than physical books. In the U.S. there has been a fall of 31% in public library building use over eight years, up to 2018.  Though a good portion of these numbers are most likely a result of the pandemic caused by the quick spread of COVID-19, it is also important to acknowledge that this trend was already an issue beforehand due to the widespread appeal of reading online and audiobooks. But libraries have been able to adapt to this trend, with the Hunterdon County Library System offering a digital catalog of Ebooks, audiobooks, TV shows and movies, available to anyone with a library card in the county. However, now the country is finally beginning to return to a state of normalcy, now is the perfect time to show appreciation for local libraries and all they have to offer. 

When searching for books in local libraries, it’s always helpful to ask a librarian for help or use one of the library computers if you’re having trouble locating a particular book. But spending some time wandering around the library is a great way to pique your own curiosity. As you continuously browse the book spines in search for one specific one, you can often tend to encounter interesting book titles that pique your interest, possibly leading you to read one of your future favorite books. As a result, this could also lead you to be more curious as well as exploratory, encouraging you to go outside of your comfort zone and experience something new. Libraries tend to be the perfect place to hang out with friends — whether that be to simply study or to relax. 

Now that spring break seems to be around the corner, one place you could visit could be your own local library. Flemington has two libraries, one located on Main Street, barely a mile from Hunterdon Central. The Flemington Library, in addition to having two floors worth of books available to check out, hosts various events, including storytimes for kids, make-and-take craft days, and reading clubs. It also has places to read and relax with your friends, including a patio. Our second library is the Hunterdon County Library, the headquarters of all the libraries in the county. Totaling at three floors, the library offers a range of services, including help searching for job opportunities, help with filing your taxes, and hosts events for children like “Makers Days” and kids, teen and adult book clubs. 

Many people go to their local library in search of volunteer opportunities, which look great on college applications. Many parents accompany their children to go to read alouds, often held at both the Flemington and Hunterdon County Libraries. Going to the library is a great way to stay engaged with your community, and the Hunterdon County Library allows teens to stay engaged by hosting clubs like their anime club and a yoga club. A local organization called “Friends of the Library” hosts a book sale every year, with the proceeds going towards the County Library and its volunteers. 

Though it might seem surprising, local libraries have so much more to offer than just books. It’s important for people to visit their local libraries and start supporting and showing more appreciation for them, whether that be through volunteering or simply checking out a book. Even taking one trip to your local library can help in the effort of ensuring our local libraries remain open for a long time to come.