February is Library Lovers Month! If you’re a bibliophile, you know that libraries are sanctuaries away from the bustle of everyday life, as well as places where you can be surrounded by knowledge. And, you are not alone. Today, there are more than 16,000 public libraries in the United States!
History of the public library in the United States
According to Wikipedia, “As the United States developed from the 18th century to today, growing more populous and wealthier, factors such as a push for education and desire to share knowledge led to broad public support for free libraries. In addition, money donations by private philanthropists provided the seed capital to get many libraries started. In some instances, collectors donated large book collections.
The first free public library supported by taxation in the world was the Peterborough, New Hampshire Town Library which was founded at town meeting on April 9, 1833. Many sources claim to have been the first, such as Boston’s Public Library, which was actually the second, established in 1848. The first free continuous children’s library in the United States was founded in 1835 in Arlington, Massachusetts.”
Delaware public libraries
Things have changed a lot since 1833! In Delaware, there are 33 public libraries, eight academic libraries, and seven special libraries in the Delaware Library Catalog. These are all publicly-funded libraries and have some remarkable collections just waiting to be discovered! A complete list is available HERE.
And today, libraries offer more than just books. For example, did you know that there are also movies, music, magazines, newspapers, Internet access, programs, workshops, community collaborations, and more?
Most exciting is the addition of eMedia. In fact, in January 2016, Delaware Libraries celebrated a major milestone — 1,000,000 eMedia checkouts since the program was launched in 2011!
How to access Delaware’s library collections: Your library card
All Delaware residents are eligible for a free library card. Complete a registration form and present it with a photo ID at your local Delaware public library.
New Castle County registration form
Kent County registration form
Sussex County registration form
If you don’t have a Delaware photo ID, please contact your local library for card registration requirements. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present to sign for the card.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
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