Sharing what’s Free: Libraries

I believe greed is a poison in our world and want to oppose it as much as I can, every incremental action is worth something, I hope.

The number one place to go for free services in every city in the US, the one place where everyone is accepted regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status, physical abilities or attributes, citizenship status, political affiliation or anything else is….Libraries! They’re designed to be absolutely free, paid through public taxes (unlike the mega corporations: Amazon, Apple, etc, I cancelled Netflix for this reason).  The richest should pay their share of taxes; it’s outrageous that they don’t.

At Oakland Public Library (as well as others), you can borrow books, audiobooks (books on CD), magazines, movies and much more. Here’s a brief list of what’s available for Free:

1)books including large print, (LINK+ borrowing gives free access to library books/media from other library systems like SF, Berkeley etc)

2)audiobooks (great to listen to while doing other things, like cleaning/chores, while in traffic, etc).

3)magazines and newspapers (many are also online, free access to New York Times online)

4)DVDS (some BluRays, but not many)

5)music CDs, sheet music

6)toddler toys (dolls, dinosaurs, kitchen sets, blocks etc)

7)tools (gardening, plumbing, hardware)

8)WiFi free hotspot mobile access

9)video games

10)seed lending library (free seeds for gardening)

11)knitting needles/supplies

12)bicycle tire pump and lock

13)computers/laptops (library use only)

14)scanners and fax (both are free service, copiers cost 15 cents per page)

15)study rooms

16)programs: (arts/crafts, lectures, performances, yoga, cooking, writing groups)

17)tax preparation (low income requirement)

18)lawyer advice

19)resources for homeless (hygiene kits, referrals to food banks, clothing, showers, shelter)

20)snacks or lunch for kids and teens

21)online learning (foreign languages, career advancement, etc)

22)streaming video (Hoopla, Kanopy)

All for free!


  1. Wow, that’s great they offer so many things. Free seeds and checking out gardening tools is a great idea.

    All this summer my daughter’s school is going to be open during the week at lunchtime. Any kid can come in and eat for free, no questions asked. I had never heard of that before. It’s great. For all the shit that is going on, there are still good things happening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you can “borrow” seeds and donate seeds too from what you’ve grown. The tool lending library is a mini Home Depot all for free, even chainsaws with workshops about plumbing and home repairs.

      Your daughter’s school sounds wonderful, the library has free lunches for kids especially in the summer, some kids rely on free school lunch, we provide it. Even while on strike, staff volunteered to keep the free lunch service operating. Thanks for your comment River.

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  2. Libraries are an incredible community resource that need to be celebrated much more….if not funds will dry up and people will simply use their single-user devices until the end of time

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  3. Wow! Our public libraries were not intended for such purposes. While I must commend the Oakland Public Library and other libraries that are offering these free services to their communities, I think that it’s a sad reflection of the times we live in. While a few among us grow richer, poverty spreads like a cancerous growth.

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    1. Yes that’s true! Some librarians are even trained to give injections to revive people who overdosed. We need actual hospitals and mental health agencies, but it all gets allocated to libraries to handle the social service issues. On one hand the public needs these services, but you’re right it shouldn’t be our responsibility. When Reagan closed the mental hospitals in the 80s it sent the precedent. Libraries used to be silent places to study, research and find books…it’s now a community center environment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes good to feel proud of your work, libraries are the last refuge of community in a disconnected world. I’ve been a library nerd since high school, my first job, then in different systems in mid-adulthood, it was the perfect fit for me, I’m non-materialistic so the concept of sharing/borrowing matches my interests and intention.

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  4. Thank you for sharing information that reminds us of the good and practical work carried out by librarians. Municipal government works! Organized public service is an essential component of civilized life. We need to be reminded of this and public servants need to be recognized in times of anger and revolt. Maybe the quiet honesty of librarians will undermine the loud manipulations of today’s captains of industry who take advantage of angry, disappointed people and brainwash them into ignorance and the promise of a diminishing tax break. I imagine anxious unhappy people driving rusting SUV’s, chasing a populist cloudburst that moves faster than their thirsty vehicles can ever reach. Unfortunately, they won’t find too many free thinking people lending them anything for any length of time at the gas station when their cars need filling up with gasoline. And yet…the seeds that have been sown by patient, democratic librarians and thinkers like Dewey, who created the Dewey Decimal System, still leave me some hope that even many gas station owners and operators continue to value and respect the nations’ libraries. I hope so. They might even be reading and selling a fedw books and other useful materials as they try to make a living. Thanks Judy for visiting my site and for liking my poem Big Bang Theory.

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