Every January millions of people make resolutions to improve themselves in some way. Whether it's to eat healthier, volunteer more often or learn a new language many of these people give up after only a few months for various reasons, mostly because it's difficult to change their ways. But did you realize that there is a free resource available in your community that can help you keep your resolution no matter what it is? That magical place is your local library. Here are ten reasons you should resolve to use it every day in 2015:
1) Read more: This one seems obvious enough. Libraries are places you can get physical and digital books to read. What people don't realize though is not only can they find endless rows of books but they can also get recommendations on which ones to select.Librarians are master curators, the guardians of good taste. One of the things they're great at is providing you options on what to read next. No longer do you have to hope for the best with two sentence summaries. Many libraries even have websites set up to help you discover your next great read.
2) Watch less TV: When we get home from a long day of work the easy thing to do is plop down in front of the television. It's mindless and easy. The hours we spend in front of the television though could be spent reading, learning a new language or working out. What's great about libraries these days is you don't have to actually go to the buildings to use their materials. Nearly every library in North America offers digital titles available for you to download on any smartphone, tablet or device. Now you never have to worry about making it to the physical library in time. Whether you're on your couch, in bed or at the office during lunch you can access something to read anytime, anywhere.
3) Exercise more often: Working out is tough. It can be time-consuming, frustrating and even a little embarrassing at first. Those long sessions on treadmills or at the gym can get boring quickly. To make this time more enjoyable download a digital audiobook from your library on your smart phone. Audiobooks are perfect for not only helping pass the time but making you look forward to your time on the elliptical. In fact, digital audiobooks have never been more popular and many people use them to multitask while sitting in traffic, doing mindless work or chores at home.
4) Keep up with current events: Staying up to date with world news can be tough. Subscriptions can be pricey and you aren't always around to catch the nightly news. Did you know you can get the latest editions of countless newspapers and magazines from the library as well? In fact, not only do libraries let you borrow periodicals but you can do it for free on your smart phones as well.
5) Give more to charity: Libraries are free for patrons to use at any time. They are nonprofit, which means that money can sometimes be stretched. If you're looking to donate more in 2015 why not offer those funds to the library? The money will go back to the community by enabling them to purchase newer books, offer more programs and possibly even hire new staff.
6) Learn something new: Ray Bradbury once famously said, "I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years." Libraries provide access to scholarly articles, educational materials, language learning programs and much more to help you better yourself and there's no need to pay for expensive college courses or deal with undergrads trying to find themselves.
7) Spend more time with family: Libraries offer reading clubs for children year round as well as crafts and activities to promote brain growth. Many libraries have even begun providing digital "eReading Rooms" so that young readers have a safe digital environment to discover age appropriate content. This is the perfect opportunity to bond with your kids over the stories you grew up loving.
8) Travel more/spend less: in 2015 it's time to officially abandon the time honored tradition of overpaying for books at the airport because you couldn't fit them in your bag. Now you can borrow titles on your tablets to read in the plane or on the beach. Some libraries, like San Antonio Public, are even putting branches in the airports to provide temporary library cards for travelers who are just stopping through their city.
9) Start a new career: Did you know that libraries will help sharpen and improve your resume while looking for a new job? If you're starting a new company but lack work space they provide business labs, maker spaces to promote creativity and even technology like 3D printers to create models and presentations. If you're an aspiring writer they can even help you publish your novel.
10) Be less stressed: Sometimes you just need to get away from the distractions of everyday life. By carving out time every day to focus only on reading or learning something new you'll form a habit that will reinvigorate your life quickly and, because all these materials are available with just a library card, it won't cost you a dime.
Get started on your New Year's resolution to read more -- read a sample of Cheryl Strayed's Wild instead of going to the movies!