I’m going to let you in on one of our biggest secrets. It’s a resource treasure trove that has helped shape our business and our art, and provides literally endless amounts of high quality inspiration. Have I piqued your interest?
The best $10 you can spend on your business is buying a library card.
Why use the library?
Let’s start things off with a quote.
You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library
– Will in Good Will Hunting [Edited for potty language]
It’s a statement that puts in perspective the real cost of education. We live in a time where our access to information is unprecedented. You can learn (and master) nearly anything you like. The only thing you have to do is put the time into learning and practicing.
Besides the library being an incredibly cheap information resource, it’s also the form the information is in that makes it exceptionally valuable.
I’m talking about books.
The problem with the internet is that you have to search hard to find high quality information. This takes up a whole lot of valuable time. And even when you find some information, you can’t be sure of the quality, and it’s often cluttered with distracting advertising.
Not only that, but it often comes in the form of small information nuggets. Those are great, but if you want to really transform the way you think you need something more meaty. You want enough ideas and inspiration to make a difference.
Consume the weighty information you can learn from books and you’ll never regret it.
How to use the library
If you haven’t been to the library in a while now is the time to go check things out. I think you’ll find things have changed a little. Since libraries are different everywhere I can’t say things will work the same for you, but I’ll give you an example of how we use our library.
Our library (in Edmonton, Canada) has a website (http://www.epl.ca). Whenever we think of a topic we’d like to learn more about we visit their website and do a search.
Their website has the ability to track all the library books in circulation in Edmonton at all their branches. We find the books we want and reserve them online. The books are shipped from whatever branch they are at and we can pick them up at our local branch.
Everything is automated. As soon as books come in we’re sent an e-mail letting us know they’re waiting to be picked up. If the book isn’t available we’ll be put on the waiting list, and e-mailed when it’s available. Their system also e-mails us a day before books are due so that we remember to return or renew them (which can be done online). We’re also able to borrow ebooks online. It’s magic.
If you’re not sure what you want to read but have a general topic in mind then head over to Amazon and peruse their best sellers list, then check to see if your library has the book – they often will. And if they don’t you can often request that they purchase a copy and you be put on a waiting list for when it comes in!
It’s also a great idea to just go for a walk through the library to get started. There are so many books that you wouldn’t even think to search that just pop out when you’re walking aisle to aisle. Pick up anything that catches your eye, grab a seat, and flip through it. The key is to just browse without limitations. You might find an artist or way of thinking that completely changes your perspective, or at the very least challenges it.
Finally, if you find a book that you keep taking out, or renewing, it might be worth buying. But be careful. When you think about it, books spend most of their time just sitting on shelves! There’s no point in buying books that you don’t absolutely love.
This weekend if you’re feeling like you could use a healthy dose of inspiration, go and stroll around your local library. It’s pretty much guaranteed to get your mind working and the creative juices flowing!
P.S. Also keep your eyes out for music, movies, and documentaries at your library; all amazing sources of inspiration as well!