I’ve mentioned this before (a lot) on my Instagram, but I live in one of the best public library systems in the world. I could spend an hour listing all the amazing things my library has (3D printing. A sewing lab. A/V recording studios. Classes on everything. A regular social worker. DELIVERY BOOKS TO YOUR DOOR.). But I don’t want to proselytize. And I definitely don’t want to make everyone who doesn’t live in the Orange County Library System to feel jealous. So instead we’re going to talk about my favorite dates that my library–and probably yours–can facilitate.
- Blockbuster Dates – This was actually where I got the idea for this post. When I was in elementary school, my family would take every Friday to go to Pizza Hut to pick up dinner. Then we’d make a beeline for the Blockbuster near my house where we’d pick out a movie or two to watch while we ate. I loved wandering the aisles of the movie store, flipping over the VHS and DVD boxes to read the descriptions on the back. About a month ago I was lamenting the loss of that tradition when I realized, wait a minute! My library has shelves and shelves of DVDs! Now Kevin and I have a semi-regular tradition of going to the library, flipping over DVDs to read the descriptions, and picking one or two to take home, where we make tortilla pizzas and eat dinner on the couch. Sometimes you really can have it all. (For free!)
- Read Aloud Picnic – This is, alas, still a theoretical date because reading aloud is a Special Occasion event in our household, but the premise is easy. Pack some noms, rent a reading room (free!) in the library, and go read aloud to each other. Or you can check out the book your reading and pick a local park (also free!) for your adventure.
- Cooking Class (or any class) – My library hosts classes on everything. Want to make a muppet? Check. Learn to code for a VR game? You got it. Feel like learning about zoodles and homemade pasta? A regular Tuesday. Making something always makes me feel good, and sharing that feeling with my date buddy? Even better!
- Go to a Concert – Pretty much every library system I’ve ever been part of has hosted concerts of all stripes. In fact, my first wizard rock concert was in a library. If Harry and the Potters isn’t your thing, there are open mic nights, classical music, kids music, and student recitals, just to name a few options. Is it the Met? No. Is it conveniently located to your home and you can wear comfy clothes? Yes.
- Music Party – Remember how I said earlier that my library has rows and rows of DVDs? Well, the same goes for CDs! It’s simplicity itself to borrow a CD and have a themed party. Nineties? Opera? They have it all.
- Catch a Movie – You don’t just have to rent a movie to get your visual fix from the library. Most libraries host movie nights of all stripes. Sure, there are lots of kids movie nights (and be honest, who doesn’t love Hotel Transylvania and Charlotte’s Web?) but they also do movie series around different cultures or local film festivals. Sometimes there’s even popcorn!
- Watch a Performance – In the past as I’ve walked into the library, intent upon my task, only to be greeted by the local ballet troupe performing Alice in Wonderland. Or a comedian making a crowd giggle. In fact, there’s a permanent stage set up on the first level, so if you don’t check the schedule you never know what you’ll run into.
- Plan a Fantasy Trip – Another thing people on my Instagram might have noticed is that I have a minor obsession with checking out cookbooks. There are so many! I love slow cookers! And vegetarian cookbooks! It’s how I found some of my favorite recipes and even my favorite cookbooks (which I bought. And tagged the author/chef in a photo. He commented! I was in heaven.). …This turned into a tangent. What I meant to say here was, check out travel books! Plan a fantasy week in a dream destination! Then start saving! Why not?
- Visit a Festival – Since I’ve moved here, my local library has hosted two book festivals (S. Jae-Jones spoke at one! I met her! It was amazing!) and a Harry Potter Festival, complete with butterbeer. And I think I missed another one, but I don’t remember was it was for… All of these festivals have had activities (scavenger hunts! build-a-wand! panels!) and swag (butterbeer! book giveaways!). Plus you’ll meet some really cool people who are interested in the things you all are.
Things at Other Library Systems:
- Colorado’s Arapahoe Library System lets you rent a programmable robot (if you’re the indoor type) or a State Park Pass (if you’re the outdoor type).
- This is of things that are not necessarily dates, but fun things to do (children not required).
- New York Libraries let you visit museums for free! I wonder if mine does this? Oooh, they also have themed birthday kits!
- I don’t read magazines, but maybe you do! Maybe you don’t want to pay for them anymore! Maybe your library has a subscriptions?
- This Arizona county has kids yoga. Probably also grown ups yoga.
- This group helps libraries provide lunch during the summer, when schools no longer fill that gap.
- Some libraries have “Things Libraries.” OCLS doesn’t because people aren’t…the carefulest when it comes to the stuff they borrow, but maybe your area has patrons who are gentler with tools and musical instruments!
- Just so much stuff, you guys. I can’t even. Seeds! People! Air mattresses!
In summary, I adore libraries. They facilitate so many parts of life that most people don’t know anything about. My library brings in social workers, ESL teachers, and classes for all kinds of life skills, just to name a few of the resources they provide. You can stream movies and download free music and learn new skills from 3+ language study resources!
Do you love your library? What cool thing does yours have? Do you have an EVEN BETTER library date idea? Let me know in a comment!
P.S. My mss is at 75,000 mind-boggling words? I’m so impressed with myself.