How to Library


I want to talk to you about a card that is
really important to adulting. It’s not a credit card, it’s not an ID. In fact, you’ve probably had one since you
were a little kid. It’s a library card. [♪♩INTRO] In elementary school, most of us learn that
libraries are rooms filled with books, which sounds awesome, but that’s underselling
it, frankly. Librarian Julie Biando Edwards, author of
Transforming Libraries, Building Communities, says that “The public library is the Room
of Requirement.” Public libraries reflect the needs and desires
of the communities they serve. They’re often filled with books, but they’re
also meeting places for… ukulele classes or improv groups. They’re computer labs and 3D printing workshops. They’re concert venues, movie theaters,
and ballrooms. I’ve played my fair share of shows at libraries. Just like the Room of Requirement, the library
is whatever a community needs it to be. For instance, I live in a town nicknamed “the
garden city” and we’re surrounded by rivers, so at our library we can checkout heirloom
seeds for a garden or life jackets for kids because those are things we need and want
in our community. No matter where you live though, the easiest
way to utilize everything the library has to offer is with a library card. Most public libraries serve a specific area,
and in the US it’s frequently by county. So when you move to a new county, you probably
need a new library card. To get one, go to the library you’ll frequent
most. This could be a large central library, or
it could be a smaller branch library. All public libraries within a community are
connected, so just pick the branch that’s most convenient to you. A note here, that if you’re unable to get yourself physically to a library, just call or email your local library Some libraries have mobile branches, some have
mail services, or even home visits. Libraries are for everyone. If you’re getting your library card at bigger
library, there will probably be signs directing you to a kiosk to put in your name and local
address for your card. If it’s a smaller library, just go right
up to the person at the circulation desk and proudly tell them you would like your library
card, please! Make sure to ask about how many items you
can check out, how long you can check items out, what the late fees are, and also what else
the library has to offer. So what does the library have to offer? Physical books, for sure, but with your library
card you can also download free e-books and audiobooks. Some libraries even have e-readers or ipods
you can check out. And you can ask your local librarians how to download
from the library website both in the library and at home. When it comes to libraries, we always think
of books, but libraries love all media: Books, DVDs, CDs, records, magazines, newspapers,
microfilm, microfiche, mp3s, mp4s… if it stores information, it can probably be found
in a library. For that matter, if it reads information,
it can be found in a library. Many libraries check out computers and DVD
players if there’s a need for those things in the community. Let’s be honest, you probably don’t have a DVD player anymore, and you probably don’t want to buy one just so you can watch that one DVD you have. If you can’t find what you’re looking
for, remember that your library is just a branch of a much larger resource tree. You can request a book from another branch,
or a partner library. Often, county libraries are connected across
the state or region and they all share inventory. You can request any item in your library’s
system by placing a hold on it. Most libraries are set up so you can place
a hold online, then a library circulation assistant will pull that item from the collection
for you and set it aside under your card number until you can come pick it up. Or, if it’s at a partner library, they’ll
send it by courier to your library where a circ assistant will put it aside for you. Usually you have about a week to pick it up. This is really nice when you want a popular
item that’s always checked out. By placing a hold, you’re reserving your
spot in the queue to check that item out. It also helps librarians see which items are
popular and they can order more. If none of the libraries in your partner system
have the item you want, then libraries use I.L.L. or Interlibrary Loan. This is when a library basically checks a
book out on your behalf from another library outside its system and then lends it to you. These items are usually rare, which is why
they’re only in one or a few libraries, and have a shorter check-out time. Some are so rare that they can be shared between
libraries, but you can’t check them out and leave the library with them. In that case, the ILL librarian will set you
up in a room to study the item and maybe make copies. And if not even the magical ILL librarian
can find the item you want, then maybe they’ll just have to find a way to acquire that item
for the collection. It’s the room of requirement after all! And in order for libraries to fulfill the
needs of their communities, librarians rely on their community members to tell them what
they want to see in their library. Finally, don’t forget to be patient and
kind when it comes to requesting changes to your local library. Librarians are balancing the needs and wants
of every person in your community. Which is pretty amazing. Good people, librarians. Thanks for watching this episode of How to
Adult! It’s impossible to cover every service libraries
offer in one video, so let us know your favorite thing about your library in the comments below! How to Adult is produced by Complexly. Check out to learn more about
How To Adult and a buncn of our other shows including Crash Course Literature or Crash Course Computer Science Two important parts of libraries! [off-screen]
Let’s get that balled. Let’s get it balled. I want to tell you about a card. A card that’s really important. It’s this WhiBal card. [off-screen]
It’s backwards. [laughing]
It’s this WhiBal card. It’s this one. It’s a Michael Tapes design. [off-screen]
Oh, point to me too. [off-screen]
Beautiful. Crisp like a totinos pizza.

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100 thoughts on “How to Library”

  1. h2 says:

    checkout seeds? How do you return those?

  2. Jason Thomas says:

    Thank you from a very happy public librarian!

  3. Dorcas Abe says:

    my library has movie nights and open mic nights plus I can read as many books as I like without having to buy them

  4. Assume Correct says:

    In Minnesota (doncha no?) you can register your card in other library systems in the state, so I've been collecting registrations like Pokemon cards. My card is registered in the Hennepin, St. Paul, Ramsey, and St. Cloud library systems

  5. Isabella Song says:

    I absolutely love my hometown library. I went to book club there for 6 years and love to go back when I'm home from college. The librarians are amazing & always helpful <3

  6. TheBibliophiliac says:

    "My" library is actually in a different county. Since I work in the county where my library is, I can have a card for free!

  7. Arlen Morrison says:

    Watching this video made look at my local library's website. They have exhibits on our cities history. I'm going this weekend! Also, yoga classes, interesting speakers and other cool shit. I never even considered checking it out before even though I'm literally eating take out from across the street right now.

  8. mudbrowneyedgirl says:

    Hank, as a public librarian-in-training, you have made my week with this video! Everything you said is excellent information. Good work! One new project my library is working on, is having wifi hotspots to check out and take home for a bit. This is a super-important need for many people who do not have internet at home.

  9. Kathy Trithardt says:

    As someone who works in a public library – YES! Libraries are so important ♥

  10. Daniel Houck says:

    How do you check out seeds on a library lending model? Do you keep them all through the growing season and "return" the seeds the plant you grew produced?

  11. andrineslife says:

    Libraries are literally magic. My local one lets you borrow a box with mugs, a thermos and an Electronic kettle to make Coffee or tea if you're going to be working in the library all day. Also: you can print for a small fee or scan documents for free! And free wifi!

  12. steamingmushrooms says:

    My library is the reason why I can't stop reading books, and I am totally okay with that (eBook loans are the *best*). I love libraries so, so much.

  13. pokechatter says:

    As one who works for a public library, I am glad to hear what you have to say about libraries.

  14. Alyss93 says:

    My favourite part about public libraries is working at one! I love being an active part of supporting my community, creating programs that help and interest people, and helping out those who might not have a strong voice to access information and services to help them get the best out of life 🙂

  15. In 2 We Believe says:

    Wow. I had no idea.

  16. Sunny Cai says:

    In my library, theres not just books and dvds but also tons of board games and also a "library of things" where you could check out anything from a stand mixer to a croquet set, its really cool

  17. pwnyy says:

    I'll be honest, I haven't gone to a library in ages. :p

  18. Mike Meyer says:

    So sad. I thought this was going to be about creating your own library. Also that you didn't mention checking our paintings, which is how my mother kept good at in our house.

    One hint: if you live near a major university, the resources available in its library will be very different from the ones in your community library, and likely available to residents as well. So be sure and check it out (sorry).

  19. Holly S says:

    Something we've learned in the UK over the last few years: if you don't make use of your library, it goes away forever. When cuts are made to public services, footfall in libraries is used to judge their usefulness, and libraries that don't have many visitors get closed. Please visit your local libraries!!

  20. Josie Gibson says:

    I've been working in a public library for 3 months now, and I am constantly in awe of the range of services we are able to provide.
    We teach people not only how to use a computer, but how to navigate the overwhelming tasks such as trying to rent a room online for the first time.
    If you are just hanging out for a game of chess, you will find a) chessboard and b) someone willing and eager to play with you.
    We're a sympathetic ear for the kids just bursting to talk about why they love books about horses, or adults who just need some human interaction.
    And then there is all the books too 🙂

  21. Sweets And Charades says:

    When I saw the title I thought it was about organizing your own library XD

  22. Zaccary Bradt says:

    Hank Green's really out here promoting the AP Lang exam

  23. Jamie Harries1 says:

    So glad to see this as a librarian! Come in people, we won't shush you/ all be old ladies!

  24. LostThePirate says:

    Several local libraries I know of also check out "Cultural Passes" – at my local library, this includes check-out-able tickets to the nearest city's Zoo, Japanese Gardens, and Chinese Gardens.

  25. Bygonya Raya says:

    One of the most amazing things about libraries are their online resources! I'm learning Finnish and Japanese, and I'm doing it in part with the language learning website that my library pays for and offers for free to cardholders. I also have a free account (or LinkedIn Learning, I guess) through that same library system.
    Plus, because of where I live and work, I have memberships to three, yes three, different library systems.

  26. Tess Gorden says:

    Libraries are fantastic – I'm glad you made this!

  27. Philip Hawkins says:

    Are Libraries free to use and check stuff out of in America? They are here in UK but so much of basic stuff we don't have to pay at point of use for here is barged for in America that I wondered about libraries.

  28. Mariah Bowen says:


    No one else said it so I had to.

  29. sepiroth145 says:

    you forgot one of the best features most libraries have, and that is that you can study in peace. Most libraries have a study room, and even public wifi nowadays!

  30. radicalbacon says:

    having fun isn't hard/ when you're got a library card

  31. Denise Flattery says:

    I love my library both at home and the local one.

  32. Lisa Lindle says:

    Hello from the American Library Association! Thank you for this!

  33. ArtichokeHunter says:

    My library allows 5 pages of free printing per day, and audiobook downloads so I always have something to entertain me in traffic. I love everything about libraries, though.

  34. JulesSpeaksWithWords says:

    Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!

  35. AcornCottage:School~House says:

    we love our local branch! they know our names on sight!

  36. Ben Aaron says:

    Go, librarians!

  37. Anna Ewing says:

    I love my library, I used to live across the street to our main branch and it was the best thing ever. I don't frequent the physical library as often because of the distance now but I've definitely been taking more advantage of the digital services like Hoopla for comics.

  38. waitwot says:

    Also check with your library what other services your library card can get you for free. This can include online subscription services such as learning, news and media that are normally sold on a paid subscription!

  39. Meredith Peck says:

    You forgot maps! Maps are awesome!

  40. Laurel Welch says:

    So great! I worked in my town library in high school and am now loving my new library post-college. It's a great way to save $$ instead of collecting too many books that you may or may not actually read. Libraries are such an important part of our culture!

  41. Rich McIntyre says:

    Medical librarian here! Thanks for this — this video will no doubt help people learn about what libraries have to offer!

  42. Jama Watts says:

    This makes me so incredibly happy. Thank you for understand us, Hank!

  43. vindelanda says:

    This is so good! I work in a public library and so many people are shocked about the amount of resources we have! One of my favourite things we offer are soundproof studios so people can practice or record music. Apparently there’s a bagpiper that lives in an apartment building who comes every week!

  44. Phelanii says:

    I wish our libraries were like this. All this sounds awesome.

  45. Hannah Cyrus says:

    I'm a public librarian and I love this video! The one thing I can't stress enough is that WE WANT YOU TO ASK FOR OUR HELP. Maybe you are shy. That's okay! A lot of us are shy! You aren't interrupting us and we loooove answering questions, even if you think your question is lame. It's okay if you don't know where to find something in the library or you don't know how to use a particular service or piece of equipment. We would love to help you! If talking to a real live human, even one who would love to help you, is too daunting, check the library's website for an email address. We'll respond to those questions too!

  46. Muirsa says:

    the teen book club at my local library was LIT
    gave me, a terribly isolated homeschooler, a social outlet and something to do besides binging youtube and procrastinating

  47. Sarah Smith says:

    Having fun isn't hard when you have a library card!!

  48. EverEmily says:

    Fuck yeah, library love <3

  49. Jill Clements says:

    Oh, Hank Green! I met you for a split second over a tray of sliders at a Vidcon party, and thanked you for Vidcon. I wish now that I had told you that I am a librarian, and about all of the AWESOME things my library does Every.Single.Day; we would have had much to discuss. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing the library love!

  50. Mary Wilton says:

    This is literally the best breakdown of basic library use I've ever seen.

  51. J. Ant says:

    This video makes my heart sing.

  52. Amanda McClendon says:

    Don’t forget about programs—book clubs and story times, yes, but also art classes, concerts, STEM programs, computer and job skill classes, how-to workshops, crafting circles, and more! (I’m a public librarian and we did a spelling bee for adults this summer. It was a hoot.)

    We also provide a service called readers advisory—tell us what kind of books you like and we’ll recommend some more titles that you might enjoy. Some libraries have a service where you can email them a form with stuff about your literary preferences, and they’ll compile and email you a list.

  53. Hannah Taylor says:

    Love public libraries! I found that I prefer studying in the public library rather than my university library. A more relaxed than stressed out environment. Plus the staff I interface with at the public library are wonderful and excited to see me there! The student staff at my university have been worn down by instutionalized education and drag their feet when I ask for help. Public library : green house :: university library : mausoleum 😅
    Something to think about as every library is different 😊

  54. Creativity+ says:

    The library that I go to the most often has playaways, which I really enjoy. Playaways are small devices, like an iPod, that contain just one audiobook. They are pre-loaded and easy to use….all you need is a pair of headphones. Of course, this is just one of the many great services this library offers.

  55. Cae Herlin says:

    You described part of what I do as a library employee as being done by a "library circulation assistant," which is interesting, as my position is referred to as "material handling technician." You also, amusingly, created the mental image that we'll go and pull that one item someone put on hold. Actually, we get a long list of things that need to be pulled each day. Each person gets a page or two of that list, and each page lists 25 items that we'll go and look for all at once. There are lots of those little interesting things behind the scenes that are not quite how you may imagine it all working. Generally, it's actually a lot more efficient.

  56. Michelle H says:

    My public library always has a puzzle set up for anyone to work on:)

  57. midnightsmagic says:

    I'm a public librarian, and I love this video! Thanks for shining a light on the many book AND non-book related services libraries have to offer. My favorite thing about my library is our circulating board game collection and monthly game night for adults. 🙂

    (One important addition to the part about getting a library card: You should call your library in advance or check out their website to find out what sort of documentation may be required for getting a library card. For example, my library requires a photo ID and some sort of proof of address if your ID doesn't have your current address on it yet. And if you are under 18, the rules can be different since most kids don't have photo IDs. We have to disappoint a lot of people who do exactly what Hank suggests, then wilt when we tell them they'll have to go get a utility bill or lease agreement for us to look at.)

  58. unepommeverte17 says:

    ok but can i check out a cd and then add it to my itunes library or is it supposed to be like borrowing a book- listen to it and then give it back?

    maybe not as relevant anymore (who even has disc drives anymore lol) but a large portion of my itunes library is from my hometown library's cd collection and i've never been sure if that was 100% legal or not

  59. Angie Wagner says:

    My mom’s a librarian! This is so important for people to know about!
    In Michigan we have a program called MEL, where libraries from all over the state can ship books to each other if you put in a request for it. I get books from across the state all the time if my library doesn’t have them.

  60. Lena Lazenby says:

    All I could think while watching this is "Having fun isn't hard, when you've got a Library Card!" Ah…Arthur….wonderful show from my childhood

  61. Lauren Redding says:

    This video made me cry because I love libraries so much

  62. Katelyn Wonderlin says:

    Libraries are so pure, I love any and all of them <3

  63. Lauren Meichtry says:

    I love my library!
    It's a great meeting spot that offers everything from quilting groups, to Poetry slams and art contests.
    The staff is super friendly. Never be afraid to ask, you just might learn something new 😀

  64. Josh Keating says:

    They are balanci g the wants and needs of everybody, and their budget! Don't forget the budget! Remember that during referendums!

  65. leahg180 says:

    My local library has a book club for teens where we read queer lit each month. It's probably the space in the community for LGBTQ teens, and helped me a lot in middle school

  66. Victoria Ridgway says:

    I've never felt such a sense of community like i have with my local libraries.

  67. rgains says:

    great video 🙂

  68. stecky87 says:

    As someone who works in a library, thanks for this.
    Just a couple of things: 1: if you want a card, please call in & ask what you need to get one. Most libraries aren't just gonna hand cards out to everyone – we want to know you are who you say you are. 2: Libraries are for *everyone*, they aren't your own personal place – please respect the other users & the employees.

  69. aaa303 says:

    Why not just call them community centers? Then we could use "library" to only refer to a place where books are kept, as is the standard usage.

  70. Maribeth Allen says:

    Love all the audio books at my library!

  71. Betty-Alexandria Pride says:

    What is Hank doing here? 😂

  72. Lindsay Hickman says:

    It is amazing to me to see how many people don't take advantage of their local library! I lived in my library during college and every time I would check out a book, DVD, etc the nice librarian would go on and on about how no one actually checked anything out.
    I wish I was still in college because I miss having such a great library right down the road. I have found one in my new community but it isn't quite the same. Good reminder on how much libraries offer to patrons.

  73. Ivanosca Battaglia says:

    Nahh… The only public library there's in my city just have the physical books. Nothing more. And no, I don't live in a small countryside town, I just live in Brazil.

  74. Super Librarian says:

    Super Librarian approves. Thank you!

  75. DaggerIn MyHeart says:

    Harry Potter indication!!!!!!!!!

  76. amybabygrrl says:

    My favourite thing about my library is that I had my wedding there!

  77. Heather Stock says:

    Our local library also checks out free passes to local museums! It’s awesome!

  78. E. M. Patterson says:

    Thank you for making this video. I think most people don't know about how important and useful libraries are.

  79. darthvaderchic says:

    I work at a library and this makes me happy! Libraries also provide early literacy classes and Out of School time for teens! Working with youth is a passion of mine!!

  80. AshesOnaWhim says:

    Yes! So much yes! Libraries offer so much more than most people could even imagine!

  81. Zelda Henson says:

    After watching this video, that thing where a word stops sounding like a word happened. "Library" now just sounds like a weird jumble of syllables with no meaning.

  82. suadela87 says:

    I’ve just discovered an app called Overdrive that will connect you to your library (if the participate and they probably do) and you can check out ebooks and audiobooks from your phone and download them onto your phone from anywhere. As an over the road trucker, this has helped me a lot and I love it!

    Now I just wish they’d pay me for this ad. (But I seriously just love the app)

  83. And A Splash Of Milk says:

    My local library offers passes to local museums and science centers that can be checked out just like books! They often cover a whole carload or a family!

  84. Namjoon's Ryan Pajamas says:

    Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!

  85. sk84gr8ness says:

    I like to point something out not all library are county libraries. For example, I live in another city near Dallas. The Dallas Public Library is not a county library it's a city library. Meaning I would need to a Dallas address (P.O. boxs don't count) to a "free" library card. Now there are some libraries within Texas that are county libraries. So check your local library no matter where you live to see what the rules are. On some libraries website, they should have a how to get a library card if you want to look up ahead of time. There are also some libraries that will give free library cards to anyone that lives in the state. If I am missing anything just comment on my comment.

  86. Sammie McKinney says:

    Having fun isn't hard when you got a library card.

  87. bren says:

    libraries are the best i self taught myself..for the past 50 years i always read's good for the soul..

  88. resgestae says:

    Brief history of libraries..

  89. Laure ShiningStar says:

    Please support! Any donation is greatly appreciated.

  90. noodle says:

    I'm sorry this

  91. Coach Luis Experiments says:

    Literally got my first ever library card today!!

  92. Zoey Lightbourne says:

    What did the librarian say???

    Read more

  93. JGoller221 says:

    And yet he thanked bookstore employees in the acknowledgments of his book for their services in recommending books to people 😉

    (Good natured teasing I assure everyone. It was a great book that I would highly recommend. As a librarian. I also appreciate bookstore employees.)

  94. Ron Ruddick says:

    But first you have to build a reality…

  95. iggy says:

    im supposed to be writing an essay right now :((((

  96. hetrogamr84 says:

    Ya herd of Blu-rays? The last two Sony vidgame consoles can play them.

  97. jamie marchant says:

    I think the thing I love the most about it. are the thrilling programs I have attended including Murder Mystery Night, Escape Room and Virtual Reality :).

  98. Prethe Prethe says:

  99. Nicholas Larimer says:

    Shout out to my fellow librarians!

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