Libraries, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Life in the USA
American Community
Community Services

Libraries
The United States has a fine system of libraries: public, private, university and business. At all levels, libraries act as information resources. In the Internet age, libraries have striven to keep up with the times, offering Internet access for community members, and allowing their users to search the collection of an individual library or county library system with a few keystrokes.

Most public libraries provide pamphlets and even instructional courses on how to use their materials. Public libraries also act as centers for community information and the distribution of flyers and free newspapers detailing community activities. Many libraries host lectures, exhibitions and movies or community meetings and events. The larger public libraries have special community rooms dedicated to this purpose.

To get a public library card, you must show some basic identification, usually proving your address: a driver's license, a utility bill, an apartment lease. Once you receive your card, you will be able to borrow books and music recordings, movies and even software. Libraries charge their users small per-day fines if they are late in returning borrowed items. Courteous users make sure to return items by the due date, of course, so that other members may use them.

Note that in the United States, in a fashion similar to public schools, public libraries are run by individual cities, towns and villages, and not by states or the federal government. For this reason, sometimes local tax revenues are not sufficient to pay all the expenses of the library, and the library will attempt to raise money by asking for donations from the public.


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