Your Library Makes you as Happy as a $2000 Raise

library happiness
There are a ton of great reasons to go to your local library, but here’s a new and compelling reason to visit your library more often. The United Kingdom’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport recently commissioned a study (PDF) to look at the various ways that “cultural engagement” affects the overall well-being of people. The results from the study found there was a significant association between well-being gained and people who went to the library on a regular basis. The positive effects were so great that it was the equivalent of receiving a $2,282 (£1,359) raise at work.

The study did note that more research needs to be done as it’s not clear which is the cause and which is the effect. That is, do happy people simply go to the library more often than others, or does going to the library make people happier? No matter what the direction is for the happiness, going gives you a wonderful way to stimulate your curiosity at no cost.

This comes at a time when libraries are going through a lot of change. As a recent article at Slate points out, in the not so recent past, a library without books would have been unthinkable, but it now appears that this will one day be inevitable. Despite the pains that come about with adapting to the digital age, the library continues to be a wonderful oasis of information that can save you quite a bit of money. Here are a few other ways that you may not have ever considered that a library can be quite beneficial to you (and your pocketbook).

A Comfortable Place

If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer, your library can be a wonderful oasis. It provides a climate controlled environment where you can work, study or relax throughout the day, oblivious to the weather outside. It has the added bonus that if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have to worry about the cost of heating your house in the winter, or cooling it in the summer during the day.

Entertainment for Kids

Another wonderful aspect of the library is that it can give you some free time to yourself when you are raising kids. Trips to the library can be exciting adventures for the kids, and they can spend time on their own picking out books that they want to read, then find a corner and begin reading the books they have chosen, giving you some quality time to yourself. Some larger libraries actually have kid readings and other activities where you can leave your child while you take some needed time for yourself.

Further Education

There is an assumption that further education requires you to attend college classes, but there couldn’t be anything farther from the truth. If you have an interest in learning something, your local library has a huge amount of resources which can help you just as well as any class you need to pay to attend. Yes, you will need to take a bit more of the initiative, but at the same time, you can cater your learning to exactly what it is you want to learn more about.

These are just a few examples of how a library can be a lot more than just books, and actually bring happiness to those who visit. If you haven’t been to your local library in awhile, it would be well worthwhile to stop by and explore a bit. It might even make you a bit happier.

(Photo courtesy of timetrax23)

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One Response to Your Library Makes you as Happy as a $2000 Raise

  1. christina says:

    This is true in my case. I didn’t flinch at all when the City raised our property taxes to restore the hours of our library system, and the county library system is one of the top in the country.
    I resolve this year to use the eBooks and Safari online training to augment my job skills. And I love borrowing rare, vintage videos that the Internet Archive doesn’t have.

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