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Easy Ways to Support Your Public Library Right Now

Isabelle Popp

Senior Contributor

Isabelle Popp has written all sorts of things, ranging from astrophysics research articles and math tests to crossword puzzles and poetry. These days she's writing romance. When she's not reading or writing, she's probably knitting or scouring used book stores for vintage gothic romance paperbacks. Originally from New York, she's as surprised as anyone that she lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Fight for the First from EveryLibrary

Over the last 12 months, 90 local “Fight for the First campaigns” have used the pro-bono tools and benefitted from direct support and advice from EveryLibrary and the EveryLibrary Institute in their fights to restore the right to read and oppose unconstitutional censorship. Support these local Library Alliances by donating today, or start your own campaign against censorship and discrimination at

So you’re looking for easy ways to support your library! Amazing. Even well-funded libraries can use our help to function their best. With how many libraries are under attack from censors, this supportive work is incredibly important.

Before I dive into the easy things you can do, I will invite you to consider some of the less easy things to do. It’s not easy to show up at local meetings that affect funding and governance for your library. Taking on a leadership role on advisory councils or local government is not easy. But you know who is definitely doing the hard work? People fired up to remove books from shelves, money from budgets, and services from the community. It takes people power to oppose these efforts. And just because this kind of advocate work isn’t easy doesn’t mean it won’t be gratifying. Don’t go it alone. You’ll find that the way to sustain this kind of work is to do it in community, where you can find solidarity and even joy.

Now I will step off my soapbox. There are indeed many simple things you can do to help your local library. You can do more than one of the items on this list today in minutes. Let’s have a look.

Get a Library Card and Use It

This is the most basic and important thing. Libraries thrive when their services are used! Get that card, check out materials, book those meeting spaces. Check things out from displays! Join book clubs! Take advantage of all the electronic services for ebooks, audiobooks, streaming media, and more. Your library probably has services or materials you don’t even know about yet, so dig deep.

Attend Events at Your Library

Make sure you’re receiving newsletters your library sends out, and keep an eye on their events calendar. The variety of events at libraries is amazing! I’ve gone to mine to watch movies, do trivia contests, meet authors, take classes, see art, and so much more. Bring friends! Bring family! Take a date! Librarians generally have to report attendance at events. The better attended they are, the more there can be.

Talk to Your Librarians

If you want to know about the specific needs of your library, you should talk to a librarian. They will be so happy to know you’re interested in helping, and they will have even more suggestions for you than I do. While you’re at it, get some book recommendations.

Talk to Your Friends

I have always been a big fan of libraries. Even in college, when I had access to a giant university library system, I had a library card at the local public library and used it. Didn’t everyone do that? Apparently not! Ways I use my library inevitably come up in conversations with friends, and their occasional surprise has made me aware not everyone is clued in. So encourage your friends near and far to get a library card and use it for themselves.

Spend Time in Your Library

My library is basically the only place outside my home where I can go to work without having to spend money. In addition to that, my centrally-located branch is a great place to meet up with friends before going out for food/drinks/etc. Libraries have a reputation for being the places transient and unhoused people go to spend time. Mine certainly serves that purpose. If you think it’s weird to spend time in the same place as folks in those circumstances, I urge you to reflect on that. Whatever danger you might think you’re in is likely small in comparison to the danger people living precariously face. Sharing space with people is a first step in forming a community with them, and that space is what the library is providing.

Look into Friends of the Library

Many public libraries have an organization that supports the library with fundraisers and other efforts. They’re often called Friends of the Library. See what they’re up to. Join in. My local Friends group, for example, runs promotions where a portion of the bill at certain restaurants will go to the library on particular days. What could be easier than going out to dinner and funding the library at the same time?

Make Donations

Many libraries and/or Friends of the Library groups run used book sales as a fundraiser. You can weed your bookshelves and give those books a new purpose. Some libraries will also take donated art and craft materials to use in programs — just ask before showing up with stuff, and don’t donate garbage! Maybe your library takes cash donations (often through the Friends). You could give yourself, or you could ask your friends to donate in lieu of a birthday gift, for example.

Check Out Volunteer Opportunities

We know libraries don’t have all the funding they could dream of, and volunteers help fill in that gap. You can help at events, tutor kids and/or English language learners if your library has such programs, or share your time in other ways. This suggestion is at the more difficult end of the spectrum, since it does require your time and presence, but you’ll be glad you did it.

Utilize Social Media

Here’s another dead simple one. If you have your own social media account, you can post about what you’re up to with your library. As an endlessly nosy person, I would love it if all of my reader friends posted a photo of their stack of spines every time they checked out books. I want to see what you or your kid made at the library craft event. You should also engage with your library’s social media. Subscribe, like, share, comment — all that good stuff.

How’s that for a start? As I said, you could take ten minutes right now and accomplish a couple of these. You can read more about supporting libraries in our post about National Library Week. And if you like to show your love with stickers (who doesn’t?), check out these library lover stickers. You definitely deserve one as a treat after you’ve taken some action to support your library!