Growing up, I watched so many movies in which the characters would simply go into the library and come out with so many books. It was so easy for them; just a few steps and they could have any books they wanted. The movie Matilda is the best example of this: a little girl with access to an uncountable amount of books; access to so many other lives giving her hope that her life could be better. I wanted that so badly. I wanted to be just like Matilda and read as many books as possible. However, that never happened for me. Every time I wanted a book, my parents had to buy it for me because there weren’t any public libraries with the option to get your own library card where I lived. Luckily they believed—and still do—that books are the best gift. And if you are wondering why I didn’t just get a Kindle, or rent books online, let me tell you that there is nothing like walking into a library and having physical books at your reach. In the library, you get to go through all the books you are interested in and hand-pick the ones that will be best for you.
The library at my university was one of the biggest ones in Latin American, and I was finally able to rent as many books as I wanted. The sad part was that they did not have all the specific books I wanted. Yes, they were great when it came to academic topics, but not others—not the topics I would have wanted to read growing up or even during my teenage years. I still took advantage of it and rented books every time I needed to work on a project. I discovered what I already knew: that libraries are a magical place with portals to so many worlds that will help you grow and broaden your horizon.
A few months back—when I moved to Massachusetts— I was finally able to get my first library card. For me, someone who did not grow up in America, it was like being in the movies. I walked in and told them I wanted to get my library card, and the ladies very nicely helped me get settled. That same day, I rented my first book. Since then, I explore their catalog online and put on hold all the books I want to read so I can pick them up on my way home from the gym. The library card is honestly one of the best things I have ever owned. And here’s the thing, everyone should have one.
Libraries truly are a portal to many worlds. By reading a book, you are able to transport yourself somewhere different. There are many different genres and all of them can teach you something meaningful. Being able to rent a book for free is the greatest opportunity we have nowadays. We are able to teach ourselves and educate our minds on topics that we are interested in. We have access to books that will help figure ourselves out and understand our thoughts a little better. There are even books that save lives; those that you find in the exact moment you need them the most. By having a library card, you have the whole world in your hands.
I have loved books my entire life; that is exactly why I majored in literature. To me, books are the key to understanding human beings and the reasons we all are the way we are. Books are a way of expanding our views and correcting our mistakes. They offer us an opportunity to become better and more educated. Who wouldn’t want to have that? I wanted it so badly all my life and now I get to experience it every day. There is more freedom in having a library card than having to go buy your books because not everyone can afford them or has access to them. Library cards make it easier for people to read whatever they want.
Think about it: when totalitarian regimes or dictatorships do not want their people to be smart, to fight for themselves, or to speak for themselves, they burn books down. That goes to show how powerful words can be. Don’t you want to be powerful? Don’t you want to be able to expand your mind and learn about anything you desire? Go to your nearest library and get a card!
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.