Libraries and librarians are amazing, and they rarely get the credit they deserve.

My library for sure got me through the pandemic with a steady supply of ebooks.

They do so much for the most under-served areas of our communities every day.

So it was great to see Buzzfeed do a roundup of Reddit posts from the r/mildlyinteresting subreddit, entirely dedicated to library awesome-sauce!

Here are 18 of the most exciting things going on in libraries these days.

1. Cone of Silence

Keeping people quiet has always been an uphill battle for librarians, especially in a world of group projects and shared technology.

Cell phones just add to the trouble because people don’t always police their own etiquette and when you can be reached anywhere, you WILL be reached anywhere.

Now you can take your calls in private!

My local library has vault you can go into to talk on your phone.
byu/MrCrash2U inmildlyinteresting

2. Self Monitoring

Like I said – group projects.

Sometimes it’s necessary to talk in the library.

And that’s okay, just don’t be screaming about it.

For those who need a little help with keeping an eye on their volume, technology can help!

Click on the image to see the full effect!

My school’s library has noise-level guides that change colour when it gets too loud
byu/Blackborealis inmildlyinteresting

3. Secret Complaint Line

Neighbor’s not monitoring their own volume?

Loud cell phone conversations interrupting your flow?

You don’t have to handle it yourself, and this library doesn’t expect you too.

This sign at my University with the number for the library police.
byu/Flattermedal inmildlyinteresting

4. When All Else Fails

Grab a pair of ear plugs while you wait for the librarian to sort the loudmouths out.

My library gives out earplugs on the silent floor
byu/ChairmanNoobnut inmildlyinteresting

5. Stools For All

Libraries are more than just a quiet place to work in solitude these days.

Now, instead of having to find a workroom with enough space for your group, you can just pull up a chair from anywhere.

Take one literally right off the wall!

My university library has a wall where you can quite literally take a seat
byu/Naco88 inmildlyinteresting

6. Try It Before You Buy It

Or maybe you are working alone, but you need to be moving around.

Well now you can!

I have always wanted to try a standing desk or a treadmill desk, but I couldn’t quite commit.

Being able to do this once in awhile, throughout a long writing day, would be amazing.

Basement floor of my campus library has a treadmill with a computer, so you can exercise & study at the same time.
byu/fallenKlNG inmildlyinteresting

7. Up-Cycle Aesthetics

When you’re tired of working and walking, this library invites you to put your feet up–on old discarded books!

Had a volunteer help me make these stools out of our discarded books for new library seating.
byu/hcherie92 inmildlyinteresting

8. Bee-Hive Yourself

If you need a break from working, mosey on down to the children’s section and check out this incredible living bee exhibit!

My local library has bee hive in the kids section, with a tube that leads to the outside.
byu/sauer_kussen inmildlyinteresting

9. Bottoms Up

Libraries are changing, but they still have a great selection of books to check out.

They’re also finding unique ways to get books into the hands of eager readers.

Like turning the books on the lower shelves so that you can read the spines without doing squats.

The library places the books on the lower shelves on their sides so the titles are easier to read.
byu/cebolla_y_cilantro inmildlyinteresting

10. Don’t @ Me

Librarians are also the best at coming up with clever book display ideas.

All to help books find readers, and readers find books.

When libraries troll their patrons.
by inpics

11. Spy On Your Neighbors

What better way to find your next big read than to check out what other people are reading too?

Word of mouth always was the best way to find the next great thing.

Library has “Recently Returned” section so you can see what other people have been reading
byu/mariottcourtyard inmildlyinteresting

12. LibGuides to Tough Topics

They’re sensitive to the fact that sometimes you need a book you don’t want to ask for, and not everyone knows how to use the catalog to find it on their own.

This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.
byu/whenitrainsitStorms inmildlyinteresting

13. Surprise Me

For when you just don’t know what you WANT, but you know what you LIKE.

Because sometimes you don’t have the time or brain space to decide.

Let a librarian do it for you.

At my library you can pick up bags of books in a certain genre without knowing what those books are
byu/wild006 inmildlyinteresting

14. Marathon Movie Night

Sometimes you want to have a marathon, but you can’t get all the things.

Well now you can.

This library has grouped them together into marathon kits so you can binge to your heart’s content.

My library loans out themed “Binge Boxes”
byu/bradshaw1992 inmildlyinteresting

15. Book 1A Please

Available 24-7, book vending machines really are a thing now.

They’re quick, easy, convenient, and freaking brilliant!

This train station has a library book vending machine
byu/immabigturtle inmildlyinteresting

16. Rolling Library

If you thought the book vending machine was cool, check this out.

Libraries have always been great about meeting people where they are.

Remember book mobiles?

Well now there are libraries built into actual subway trains! BECAUSE WHY NOT?

This subway car in Seoul has a mini library
byu/YamhillScrub inmildlyinteresting

17. Not Only Books

I’ve heard of libraries that will let you check out art prints to hang on your wall.

Well this library has figured out a cool niche.

After all, how many times is your kid going to want the Darth Vader birthday cake?

At this library in Philadelphia you can rent cake pans
byu/Ramzy08 inmildlyinteresting

18. It All Adds Up

The value of libraries is continually debated and called into question.

You can’t put a number on many of the services, like story time for the kids and reading groups and meeting spaces and community events.

But some libraries are fighting back, finding ways to remind us just how much they are worth, when it IS quantifiable.


My library receipt shows how much money I’ve saved.
byu/vpatel11 inmildlyinteresting

I love these posts, and I think maybe “cool library things” need a dedicated subreddit all their own.

Everyone has a library story. Share yours in the comments!