George Washington's trip to the local library

George Washington's trip to the local libraryWhen was the last time you were in the library? Imagine standing at the front desk about to check out a book and the President of the United States walks up behind you waiting his turn to check out books as well! Impossible? It actually happened on October 5, 1789, when President George Washington walked into the New York Society Library and checked out two books. What was our first President doing in New York? The White House was not completed at that time and our country's capital was in New York during George Washington's presidency.

No one is sure exactly why Washington checked out "The Law of Nations" and Volume. 12 of the "Commons Debates" series. Perhaps he was preparing for a debate or speech? Perhaps he was just looking for some "relaxing" reading? What we do know is that he never returned the books! The books are now well over 200 years overdue!

Was George Washington's credit rating in jeopardy?
The library offers so many services to the public, but what you borrow must eventually come back. In Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, for example, most libraries offer you many chances to pay off your fines, even with a repayment plan. However, if a patron of the library didn’t pay off the fines and continued to owe over $50.00, their fines would be given to a debt collection agency, in most cases. When debts are turned over to collection agencies they can give that information to the credit bureaus which can have a negative affect on your report and score.

You can see the record of George Washington's library activity here.

When was the last time you used the library?
There are more than 80 libraries in Allegheny County, and if you haven’t visited one recently you may want to stop by. By providing a variety of educational and entertainment mediums, our libraries have become a very valuable resource during a time when saving money is important.

During my last trip, everything I noted that the library provided to the public would have some cost to an individual, if she was to purchase that item or service on her own.

The library makes saving money easy. In Allegheny County one library card allows you to use any library, and if your local library doesn’t have a particular book or resource they can borrow it from a different library and have it sent to your library for pickup! Here are some of the things the local library provides the community.

Computer use
There are several applications available on the library computers, including software like Microsoft Office. You can save your work to a flash drive.

Internet access
Use the WiFi access on your own laptop, or simply use the library’s computers.

Listen to videos or music
Most of the computers in the library are compatible with headphones, so you can watch videos online or listen to music.

Music CDs
There are thousands of music CDs in the Allegheny County libraries. Every genre is represented.

The same is true with DVDs. Who needs to go to the theatre or rent movies when they are free at the library?

Audio Books
Remember the days when audio books were on cassette tape or CDs? Well, you can still find those at the library, but now you can also download e-books. And for anybody who's been online buying e-books, you'll quickly see the value in borrowing them from the library.

At the library you'll find books for all interests. Additionally, you'll find large print, hardcover, and even paperbacks.

At the library there are many magazines. And the best part is that you'll find magazines for both kids and adults. Again if you go to the newsstand, and look at the cover price, you'll soon see the value in magazines that the library provides to us at no charge.
At the library they don't just carry the local newspapers, they also carry national and international newspapers a lot of times.

Copying and printing service
Just about all the libraries offer some kind of printing and copying service. You can print documents from the computer or you can copy documents for a nominal fee.

Community event announcements
The library is a host to many local events, and you'll find lots of educational things to participate in.

Here's something I was surprised to find. The library in Penn Hills has a huge selection of coupons. I spent about 5 to 10 minutes going through the coupons, and was pleasantly surprised to find $11.00 worth of coupons that I can use.

Children’s Library
Here's where the library really stands out for those of us with kids. If you walk into the children's section of the library you'll find so many resources for children. Lots of great books and lots of great things to do together as a family.

Encyclopedias and reference books
For those of you who are hooked on Google Books, this is still much better and you’ll find references on even the most remote subjects!

Lots of quiet study areas
If you need a quiet place to study, the library offers all kinds of nooks and crannies within its’ walls that you can huddle up in and enjoy quiet time alone with your study materials.

A convenient meeting place
Need a convenient place to meet with a friend or a business associate? Well the library provides an excellent location for quick meetings.

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