Why The Library Rocks

Moving to the big city (Columbus is big, don’t hate) was a little hectic. I had only ever lived in small towns and villages, so all the hustle and bustle of downtown was new to me. One thing that was constant in my move was the public library.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library is one of the greatest resources for freelancers because, let’s face it, we can’t all buy the Web Development section at Barnes & Noble. Although you may already know why the library rocks, let me remind you why you should go and sign up for a card today.

So many books, so little time

The Main branch in Columbus has three floors, each floor is filled with books. By my architectural calculations, that means that there have to be at least 18 million books in the library. All joking aside, the amount of books available to you is insane.

Want to read about the first HTML specification? They have a book on that. Want to read about the latest HTML specification? They have a book on that too. It’s rare that I walk out of the library empty-handed. Granted, I don’t make it through all of my books before I have to return them, but the fact that the knowledge is there makes me happy.

So happy that I fist bump anyone I see.

Absolutely Free*

One of the biggest draws about the endless amount of books is that it’s completely free (unless you have late fees, but those are cheap as well). I would love to have every web development book out there on my office shelf, but that’s not plausible.

The library is the next best thing. From SQL to XML, PHP and .NET, there is no limit to what you can learn from library books and the best part is you don’t have to pay a dime.

Quiet Work Space

It can be tough to find a quiet public work space for meetings or just for yourself, but the library can help. On each floor there are several conference rooms for you to use in whatever way is necessary. They wouldn’t be any good for parties, as the walls are glass, but a study session or troubleshooting meetup would be perfect.

No Reservations. Psh, Yeah Right

Not every library in Columbus is going to have the exact book that you’re looking for, but that’s where www.columbuslibrary.org┬ácomes in handy. From their website you can find books at all branches in Columbus and find where that lost gem is located.

I can't believe they don't have the limited edition of that one super specific book I want...oh wait, this other branch has it.

If you don’t want to pick the book up from the location the book is at you can reserve it online. They must use some kind of intricate tube system to get books from location to location (or they just use trucks).

What’s The Point

You probably knew all of this information before reading this post, so why did I tell you? I wanted to remind you about a great resource that is at your fingertips in whatever major city you are in. In Columbus, the books stay current and the web development section is growing all of the time.

If you haven’t been to the library in a while, dust off your card and go find something interesting to read. The last book I checked out was “I Love Bacon,” a book about bacon recipes. There really are books about everything at the library.

Suggested Freelance Reading:

The money book for freelancers, part-timers, and the self-employed (money is kind of important for freelancers)
Designing with Web Standards (great read for anyone in the web field)
Creative, Inc.The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business (if you are contemplating freelancing, read this book)
HTML5: Up and running (get your hands dirty with the new spec)

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John Hartley is a Director of Product Engineering at Beam Dental in Columbus, OH. With 5+ years of leadership experience he has worked in startups, agencies, and began his career as a freelance Front End Developer. Always looking to iterate, this blog is a place for him to share his knowledge as well as hone his craft, challenge assumptions, and build a strong base of leadership and management knowledge. Connect with him on LinkedIn

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