Toddler told me this morning that today she wants to go to a library she's never been to before. SO BEGINS THE GREAT WINTER PITTSBURGH LIBRARY GRAND TOUR

Well we're back, the first unexplored library was a tiny living-room-sized affair with no children's room (but a children's bookcase and a very enthusiastic librarian who I'm guessing sees maybe two kids a month), the second was only a couple of miles up the road and had an entire children's basement.

Exploring unexplored libraries is a neat way to spend a cold and rainy morning!

Protip for doing a library tour: There are more libraries than you know, but Google maps is AWFUL at finding them. Figure out what overarching system your local library belongs to, and visit the website for that system. They'll have a complete list of all the libraries.

Here's an example from Pittsburgh. The first screenshot shows a map of libraries that Google will tell you about. In the second are libraries that the Allegheny County Library Association website will tell you about, including the very nice enormous library we visited just today. There are so many more than Google's willing to show!

(why the heck would an advertising company like Google bother to tell you about libraries? They lend books out for free! Not much advertising potential there.)

Further to the Library Grand Tour thing, a thought about libraries prompted by a chat with our local librarian about the really posh libraries...

Round here, libraries are funded by local property taxes, so the posher the area the posher the library. Taking your working-class butt to a really posh library and just kinda hanging out and enjoying the place and using their resources is a way of leeching from the upper classes for your own benefit, which is always good

(obviously make enormous use of your own local library too, even (perhaps especially) if it's a tiny or underfunded one. Funding decisions take usage into account.)

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Another great thing about libraries: librarians!

Librarians are interfaces between you and anything you could ever possibly want to know, ever. "Sure," you might be thinking, "so's my smartphone," but if librarians could be replaced with Google, don't you think it would've happened already?

If you've got a passing fancy in something, by all means DuckDuckGo it. If you REALLY want to know about a thing, ask a librarian. They have special powers beyond just searching.

· SubwayTooter · 1 · 11 · 18
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