A magical place where you can find (almost) anything

Libraries offer a slew of books, newspapers, magazines and movies. And you can find things there you might not find elsewhere: independent films, first editions of books and out-of-print CDs. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

What if I told you there was a place where you can go to get books, movies, music, newspapers, magazines and sometimes even video games — seemingly infinite pieces of media, culture and entertainment at your disposal — and it’s all free (sorta)?

You’d probably be like, “Psh, yeah right.”

Well, such a place does exist, my dear friends, and it has existed for hundreds of years.

It’s called your local library.

I’m not a life-long library cardholder. I only realized how dope the library is when I was in high school at the age of 17. Back then, I dated a page. She was the person who put the books back on the shelves and moved them to the edge so they were easily visible and retrievable.


I’d visit her after school and bring some goodies for her to snack on while she worked. Then I would grab a seat and start reading comic books — “Watchmen,” “Batman: The Long Halloween,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” She’d bring over a stack of CDs, and I’d burn them on to my iTunes. And at the end of her shift, we’d rent a movie like “West Side Story” or “Memento.”

I’m also a minimalist, that’s millennial-speak for “I’m broke and can’t afford stuff,” so I like to keep a clean apartment, free of excess books and CDs that I’ll never read or listen to again.

With a library card, you can read a book in a week or two and then return it, clearing up your living space. Check out a CD, burn it (copy the data, don’t light it on fire) and then bring back to the library. You get the experience and culture without all the weight. Also, you can’t take it home with you, but you can read this newspaper at your local library. Don’t have a dollar or a computer? Take a trip to the library and get caught up on all your local news with the in-house copies of the Enterprise and Lake Placid News.

The selection at a library is extensive, and they offer you choices you might not find elsewhere. And if your local library doesn’t have a specific item, tell the librarian and they’ll order it for you.

This past weekend, I went to the Saranac Lake Free Library to rent some movies. I got: “Broadway Danny Rose,” a slightly obscure Woody Allen flick; “THX 1138,” George Lucas’s full-length directorial debut; and a Rockwell Kent documentary. Now tell me, where in the Tri-Lakes can I go to buy those films?… Exactly.

Libraries are paid for by our taxes. Take full advantage of that.

Yes, it’s good to buy products and stimulate the economy, especially when you buy local, but a lot of folks, especially in the North Country, don’t have the budget to buy a new DVD every other week or purchase the latest down-with-Trump book. And video games, forget about it. While a “Final Fantasy” title can offer hundreds of hours of gameplay, $60 is quite a pretty penny to drop on something you might not even like. Sure, you can probably find what you’re looking for on Amazon, but Amazon is evil and wants to rule the world, so don’t give them your money.

I don’t know if you know this, but books are full of useful knowledge. School is amazing, but add some independent learning to your routine, too. To quote a brilliant-minded janitor, “You dropped 150 grand on a (bleepin) education you could’ve gotten for a $1.50 in late charges at the public library.”


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