Libraries are a powerful, free resource

By Ramanath Suryaprakash | Apr 17, 2013

We are living in a dynamically changing world where we need to learn continuously to be relevant and employable.

It has been said, “Formal education will make you a living – self-education will make you a fortune.”

My favorite learning tool is the library. Libraries offer an array of information, technology and resources for lifelong learning on almost every topic and for all ages – and for free.

The average book or DVD can cost anywhere from $15 to $50 today. An average family of four invests an estimated $200-$500 a year on books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, newspapers and more. It adds up quickly.

Through the Mukilteo Library, however, you can setup a library at your home with educational and entertainment resources, as long as you have a library card.

You have the ability to refresh these resources every three weeks and also retain them up to 15 weeks based on the availability and the type of items.

You can select from an ever-growing selection of more than 1 million titles in the Sno-Isle Libraries. Just search and place a hold online at and pick it from the library of your choice.

If a specific resource is not available, the library can either buy it or even loan it from another library in the United States and let you check it out for about three weeks.

So, you literally have the ability to read any book for free in your home library.

Don’t have a library card? Visit the Mukilteo Library or any other Sno-Isle library and sign up for a card for you and your family. Or register online at

With your library card, you have access to hundreds of books, audio books, DVDs, CDs, DVDS, scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines and a variety of electronic media, such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMusic, eVideo, eMag and Tumblebooks, which are electronic books for children.

This week is National Library Week, which celebrates our nation’s libraries and the librarians who provide an invaluable service to their communities every day.

A library is a place where we can find out who we are and what we can become. Reading provides us new ideas and information to reflect upon, so that we can think better and act wiser.

I am reminded of what President Barack Obama once said about libraries: “At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.”

I invite you to celebrate National Library Week by checking out a book or other resource at your library. The library is a powerful tool. Through continued learning, the possibilities are endless.

Ramanath Suryaprakash is the chairman of the Mukilteo Library Advisory Board. He is an advocate for libraries, as they have been a great influence in his education and career growth. He can be reached at

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