The Web is the second-best resource ever created for writers. The library is still better, by far. Here’s why.
1. You get free access to the Web at most libraries. My local offers two options. Patrons can either bring their own computers and log on with free Wi-Fi, or they can reserve one of the library’s computers. Either way, the library gives you the Web and a lot more.
2. You can find top reference books. When I was first starting out as a freelance writer, I’d spend $20-$30 for a shining new copy of the annual Writer’s Market. My local has its own copy that I can use every time I visit. Even better: I can check out copies of the magazines that WM is telling me about. Money saved is money earned.
3. You get access to professional researchers called librarians. Detecting a patten here? “Free” is the watchword when it comes to library resources, and few are more useful than your friendly neighborhood librarian — a trained researcher who can help you to find what you need. Try your tough questions out on the kind souls at the information desk sometime. My guess is you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
4. You get a quiet place to work without paying rent. Do you really want to spend your writing time at Starbucks? Yeah, okay, there’s the caffeine boost and the company but what about the noise? Not exactly an ideal writing environment, unless you prefer being surrounded by overcaffeinated teens and screeching, steaming espresso cannons. Remember: There’s a reason the newer Starbucks stores have drive-thru windows.
5. You can rent movies. Save on Starbucks and Netflix, too? Talk about awesome. The hitch: Most libraries have a waiting list to sign up for available flicks, and the wait can be months long. But the price can’t be beat. Sign up for enough movies and you’ll have at least a night’s worth of entertainment every week.
Writers who eat well keeps expenses low. That’s why we love the Web; so many of the resources we find there are free. But so is the library. It offers access to the Web plus a whole lot more.
© Copyright 2009, Tim Beyers.