Call me old-fashioned but I like to avoid screens at all costs. I am not a fan of the QR codes at restaurants, just please hand me a physical menu; I prefer writing everything down with pen and paper, and I wish I could read off my iPad or Kindle but I need a book in my hands.

I have tried many avenues for acquiring books, from the cute little free libraries on the side of the road to ordering bundles on Amazon to be delivered to my front door. I love an afternoon spent in a store like Longfellow Books or Barnes and Nobles but the prices can be tough to swallow and I stress out judging a book by its cover, a quick peruse, and the excerpt inside.

I swallowed my pride and bought a handful of books from Books-A-Million in South Portland, filled up my tote bag, and was ecstatic to have an escape into a good story.

To my dismay, not one of the books caught me enough to read more than 50 pages and when I closed each cover, I couldn’t have cared less if I ever opened the book again. I felt discouraged enough to not want to spend a dollar on another book again.

Portland Public Library

And then I remembered libraries exist.

I immediately felt silly. How could I forget about libraries? I used to go to the library all the time with my mom’s daycare as a kid and used to go to the one in Cumberland Center to get my homework done after long days at Greely High School. But, I haven’t thought of one since.

If you live or work in Portland, you can get a free membership at the Portland Public Library. I’m a Yarmouth gal but am fortunate to have a job here in the city so I was able to snag a card for free and now I can waltz on in and borrow any book I want, whenever I want. Crazy concept, right?

The library is located right in Monument Square but they also have branches on Stevens Avenue, Forest Avenue, and even on Peaks Island. I know I don’t need to explain to you what a library is but the Portland Library is a lovely little safe space to borrow books and even use their wifi and computers.

Library life is even easier now with today’s world of technology, through the membership portal you can reserve books online, check on your due dates, put books on hold, renew the books you have checked out, and look at your borrowing history to see what you’ve read in the past.

The whole point of this is just to remind you what an incredible resource libraries are. There are so few places where you can just exist without expecting something from you or having to pay to be there. They’re just simply a peaceful place.

You can make fun of me all you want for “discovering” libraries but I will say this little library refresh has been a major game-changer in my life. I just simply forgot they existed, okay?! Sue me!

28 Things to Do Around Portland for $20 or Less

For a tiny metropolitan, Portland can be surprisingly pricey. To help us all out, I’ve put together a list of things you can do in and around the Portland area for days when you don’t feel like spending a ton just to have a good day.