On the Therapeutic Effect of Bookstores and Libraries

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As an avid reader and writer, I find solace in bookstores and serenity in libraries. I find that if I’ve had a rough day at the office, a trip to the bookstore, perusing the shelves, flipping over books on the New Release table, gives me some comfort. Just walking through the doors of a local indie or the library (which I happily live a mere 4 blocks from) brings down my blood pressure. It got me wondering, why is it that the bookstores and libraries have such a positive effect on me? I’ve come up with 3 reasons:

1. I’m surrounded by something I love

I should say, I’m surrounded by something inanimate that I love, because I love my son and husband, but sometimes they cause a bit of stress in my life (I know moms everywhere can relate). But books give me something to look forward to— a little quite time. So when I find myself surrounded by them, I get a little happy on the inside.

2. The vibe

Bookstores and libraries give off a special book-nerd type of vibe, and that’s the kind of vibe I can get down with. There’s something to be said for knowing you’re surrounded by your peeps. The ones that understand you. This is especially true for those indie bookstores.

3. The possibilities are endless

Surrounded by shelves of ideas, opinions and stories means the possibilities really are endless. Bookstores and libraries give me a sense of hope. People are still writing, and people are still reading. People—young and old—still understand the importance of books. Books give us insight into time periods and ideas not expressed in history classes. Books open our eyes to new worlds and viewpoints. Books give us the ability to leave this reality and enter another one. Books shape our lives and reshape our viewpoints. Reality as we understand it can be forever changed by the ideas we read about. The possibilities, with one’s nose in a book, are endless. Some therapy definitely exists in the hope a bookstore holds within its four walls.

I’m a bit of an optimist when it comes to my favorite spot. I know some will report on the decline of the indie bookstore and the continuous rise Amazon (or maybe they’ll report on an indie revival). Some have reported the demise of the traditional, paper books, but others are reporting that (the dreaded) millennial actually prefers the paper book to the eReader. Hope, and therefore happiness and peace of mind, resides in our bookstores and our libraries. Do yourself a favor and spend a little time in one soon. You might surprise yourself.

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