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5 Reasons for Artists to Love Libraries

A pair of hands working in a sketchbook atop a table covered with art supplies and coffee

Whether you’re dabbling in crafts or a professional artist, libraries offer extensive free resources to support your creative pursuits. Painters, musicians, writers, designers, and more rely on their libraries for access to information, inspiration, and a whole community of creators to collaborate with.

Here are a few of the most ways that artists and creatives use their libraries:

Honing their skills

Libraries give everyone free access to books, online tutorials, and classes for learning new artistic techniques. Library programs like writer’s workshops also enable creatives to exchange feedback and develop their craft in a friendly, welcoming environment. (While in-person library events are on hold due to the pandemic, many libraries are still offering virtual programs you can join online.)

Finding information and inspiration

Need to do some research for the novel you’re writing? Libraries’ vast arrays of books, databases, and archival materials can help you get up to speed; if you need help finding the right sources, librarians offer tailored one-on-one reference assistance to patrons. Many libraries also offer extensive online collections of public domain images, sounds, and video, which you can freely use in collages, song remixes, and more.

Growing their businesses

If you’re looking to turn your artistic passion into a career, libraries can help you get off the ground: they offer countless resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners. From databases of sample business plans and books about budgeting to intensive “small business bootcamp” courses, libraries offer valuable tools for succeeding as a professional creative.

Accessing cutting-edge technology

Many libraries have makerspaces and media labs with 3D printers, recording studios, laser cutters, and more, in addition to free hands-on training for making the most of these high-tech tools. While these physical spaces aren’t accessible during the pandemic, plan to check out what creative tools your library has to offer post-COVID.

Showcasing their creations

Many libraries host open mic nights, art shows, and more, allowing local artists to share what they’ve been working on with others in their community. While these in-person events aren’t possible during the pandemic, libraries are still finding ways to highlight local creators—for example, Virginia’s Arlington Public Library publishes a weekly “Quaranzine” featuring community photography, illustrations, poetry, and more.

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