5 Reasons Why the Metropolitan Library System Rules

Despite Oklahoma being known for a place with dismal public schools and a ramshackle host of legislators whose skulls seem to be full of rocks, we do have great libraries. In particular, the Metropolitan Library System has served me well my entire life.

As a kid, my family would go every Saturday and browse, sit at the reading tables, and we’d all check out a tote bag each of books and magazines that we’d spend the whole week pouring through. In retrospect, I now realize another reason why I got made fun of a lot in grade school.

As an adult, I still cherish the library and will pop in, sometimes not even check out a book, just wander and explore and sit in the quiet reading room. Here are 5 other things I love about them:

Vagrants

Our society has a big phobia towards people without homes. Personally, unless I’ve been physically threatened I’m cool with them and sympathetic. The library has a similar policy and it’s a safe space for them to get out of the heat, use a restroom, read, and occasionally use the internet to look at pornography until they get kicked out. I’m a dirtbag and feel comfortable around people that are often considered dangerous.

The Smell

Okay, so sometimes the aroma can be overwhelmed by the vagrants, but that’s not their fault. Places that trade in books all have different smells, whether they’re selling new books, used books, or lending them. At a library, every book has traded hands so many times that there’s this unique scent. Combined with the cool, crisp air conditioning in the summer, it’s a pleasant experience.

Weird Events

There’s always something random going on at the library. It could be a jazz trio in the lobby, a touring African storyteller, a clown named Tinkles who reads books to kids on a Saturday morning. My parents would dump us off at the Midwest City library often just because they were holding some kind of event. I kinda hated it, but at least they got to go and get brunch or whatever.

Good Way to Get Lost

My honest favorite part about our libraries is that they’re safe spaces to just be alone inside your head for an hour or so. I don’t know the Dewey decimal system, so I just wander aisle to aisle. It’s quiet, except when one of the vagrants is blasting a Mudvayne song on his phone. I generally have no agenda, just looking for a book that strikes my interest in the moment. The librarians are always kind and helpful. Maybe it’s because I’m a nerd, but it’s my happy place, and I always walk out feeling better.

It’s Free As Hell

Obviously, the books are free, which is amazing. If the idea of a library was proposed now, people would lose their shit. ‘You mean my tax money is going to pay for a place where people can read FOR FREE? That’s socialism!’ But the astounding thing is that even though there are late fees, my library never charges me for them. I’ve racked up $20 fines and offered to pay them, and the librarians always go, ‘Nah don’t worry about it.’ I legit want to pay so I can support their institution, and my money is no good there.

What do you like about the Metro Library System? Shout it out down below.

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8 Responses


  1. ‘You mean my tax money is going to pay for a place where people can read FOR FREE? That’s socialism!’

    It sure is. Benjamin Franklin helped to establish the first lending library in North America… in 1731! That set America’s snowball rolling down that slippery slope to socialism in so many other forms: free public schools, state-financed roads and bridges (“infrastructure”), the GRDA, Jim Inhofe’s Tulsa trash system, and (gasp!) Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma. The latter being “the first step to socialism” in the sage opinion of my state rep.

    Today it’s hard to find a dedicated capitalist who isn’t looking for a government handout. Looking at you, Canoo!


  2. I ❤️ our libraries!


  3. The library system has helped me through difficult times, when I just needed to learn something new for personal empowerment. Whether facts, perspective, language, or lit, it’s always been helpful.

    The Friends of the Library Book Sale is an annual event that takes donated books, movies, cd’s, etc. and sells at a fraction of the cost. It’s another way to support the metro library system.


  4. I love the Metropolitan Library System, but if you pay property taxes then you do pay for it. With a 5.2 tax millage rate, for a house assessed at $100,000 that would be $52/yr, or $0.52 per $1000 value. Redfin puts the average Oklahoma city house at $230,000… however that is not the assessed value, which is usually lower. At any rate one pays $0.14/day per $100,000 assessed value.


  5. Libraries and Librarians seem to be our last stand against all that is going wrong with our society. Librarians seek to help folks, provide a comfortable and hospitable environment to all who enter, and endeavor to remain current on the needs of the community. Hats off to all that work there, provide funding, or support our libraries.


  6. I moved out of OKC six years ago. Despite whatever mail they’ve been sending me since then getting returned and spending at least five of those years with my account entirely unused, my account is still active! MLS has much better ebook offerings than the ones at my now-local (and much much smaller) library, so I just keep rolling that train. It might be that I owe a fine ($1.90), but I’ll take it.


    1. Eh, when I have a fine I just view it as a donation.


  7. My favorite thing about the MLS is the online books. I read on a kindle and have never had to pay for a book. Some books have to be put on hold, but they have the ones I want.

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