Libraries

How Can Libraries Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Alice Nuttall

Senior Contributor

Alice Nuttall (she/her) is a writer, pet-wrangler and D&D nerd. Her reading has got so out of control that she had to take a job at her local library to avoid bankrupting herself on books - unfortunately, this has just resulted in her TBR pile growing until it resembles Everest. Alice's webcomic, writing and everything else can be found at https://linktr.ee/alicenuttallbooks

Alice Nuttall

Senior Contributor

Alice Nuttall (she/her) is a writer, pet-wrangler and D&D nerd. Her reading has got so out of control that she had to take a job at her local library to avoid bankrupting herself on books - unfortunately, this has just resulted in her TBR pile growing until it resembles Everest. Alice's webcomic, writing and everything else can be found at https://linktr.ee/alicenuttallbooks

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It’s still the beginning of the year, but it’s the point where everyone’s motivation for their new year’s resolutions is beginning to wear off. The shiny motivation of the early days of January has faded, and the cold, grey days are starting to take their toll. Whether you’ve decided to take up a new hobby, or drop a bad habit, the dull days of late January and early February can make it very difficult to want to do anything other than curl up on your sofa with a blanket and a new series to stream.

Every Body Yoga cover

The lack of motivation is certainly hitting me hard. I started the new year determined to get back to Couch to 5K and lifting. I signed up to an online yoga course courtesy of Jessamyn Stanley, author of Every Body Yoga, and an email-based course of writing prompts with For Books Sake. Of course, I’ve done barely any of them – although I have read several books and marathoned the entirety of Our Flag Means Death.

Luckily, I work in my local library, and with the new year well and truly underway, I’m finding fun and interesting library-related ways to keep my motivation going and get my act together when it comes to all my good intentions. Here are some of the ways your local library can help you stick to your new year’s resolutions.

A Wealth of Information

If you’ve decided to take up a new hobby, your library is the perfect place to access books and resources that can help you learn the skills without spending a huge amount on how-to books. My local library, although relatively small, still has an extensive arts and crafts section, as well as books for runners, swimmers, yoga practitioners, and many other kinds of workout guides. I’ve found several useful books that have helped me plan how I’m going to approach my exercise journey, including guidance on how to keep motivated when I’m having a bad week or dealing with the ongoing aches and pains that come with being an unfit thirtysomething.

While many libraries will also have diet books for loan, I’m not going to focus on these because I’m a big supporter of intuitive eating and the anti-diet movement (as is Book Riot). However, wanting to cook a wider variety of foods, including incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, isn’t the same as the toxicity of the restrictive dieting world – and if you’ve been stuck in a rut with your cooking, libraries are also a fantastic resource for cookbooks that will help you broaden your horizons and add more dishes to your repertoire.

Beyond Books

Many libraries give users the opportunity to borrow much more than books, which can be extremely useful for anyone wanting to take up a new hobby. My local library is part of a scheme that lets people, particularly school kids, borrow musical instruments – a fantastic way for children to access music without their parents having to spend a huge amount of money on an instrument. This makes it possible for children from lower-income backgrounds to try out different instruments, and allows people to decide that an instrument may not be for them without feeling guilty about a potential waste of money.

Libraries can also help people develop research-based hobbies and interests. Many libraries allow users free access to sites like Ancestry.com, incredibly useful for anyone who wants to get into family or social history research. If your research project requires books or records that isn’t on the catalogue, librarians can often find a way to access it for you, whether by ordering a new book in or by pointing you towards other organisations or places where you can find the information you need.

Community Connections

Many people’s new year’s resolutions focus around, or overlap with, making new friends or spending more time with others. I’ve previously written about how libraries are an essential centre for local communities, and this can be particularly true for people who want to start doing something new. Libraries often host book groups, and can make these gatherings easier and more accessible for people by ordering the books that the group has planned to read, eliminating a cost for people who would otherwise not be able to attend.

Traditional reading groups aren’t the only meetups that libraries may host. Some libraries also host writing groups and poetry workshops, while others broaden out beyond the written word; one of my local libraries has a regular LEGO club and a coding club, as well as frequent arts and crafts workshops. Other libraries have set up homework clubs for kids of all ages, giving children a dedicated space where they can research, work together, and focus on their projects.

Libraries can be a great springboard for keeping to your existing new year’s resolutions, but if you’re struggling to choose a resolution in the first place, don’t worry, we’ve got you. If you’re stuck for ideas, try our quiz on What Should Your 2023 Bookish New Year’s Resolution Be? If you know you want your resolution to focus on reading, but aren’t sure what it should be, try Reading Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep.