In the 2020 Netflix documentary “The Last Blockbuster” about the literal last Blockbuster Video location on earth, located in Bend, Oregon, a string of Gen X and millennial celebrity talking heads lament the loss of the massive company that fell within a generation. (They’re really lamenting the loss of the neighborhood mom-and-pop video store, which the Bend Blockbuster evolved back into, but that’s another story.) At one point, someone mentions the library, as if Blockbuster and the public library had both outlived their usefulness.
Except that the public library — where, as it happens, you can still get DVDs for a day, without the rental charge — hasn’t gone the way of Blockbuster. Libraries were never just for borrowing physical books or looking up old publications on microfiche, but over the last couple of decades they have evolved. They’re places where people can use computers or Wi-Fi if they don’t have it; they’re job and workforce development centers, and makerspaces that give back to the community. And if you get a hit of serotonin from the smell and feel of non-digital books, you can still get that at the library. (If you prefer digital books, though, there’s an app for that.)
We don’t know what other states’ library systems are like, but Delaware Libraries is solid, with all of the public libraries in the state connected. Well before COVID-19, workshops were livestreamed to multiple library locations, and now, with virtual events and webinars the norm, most of its content can be accessed from home.
In honor of National Library Week, here are 10 things you can do for free via Delaware Libraries:
- Learn what you need to know about the law.
- Learn to code with Scratch.
- Become a master gardener.
- Talk about Natalie Portman’s favorite book.
- Get a job.
- Join a Dungeons & Dragons group.
- Get help from a social worker.
- Read digitized Delaware newspapers from the past.
- Create your family tree.
- Learn to design a 3D-printed object.