During the “Jurassic Era” of civilization, or pre-internet, public libraries operated in the same ways as a Google search or Kindle function today. However, the internet now usurps that first choice of solitary, relaxing research. Libraries now function as just another source for students, professionals, and retirees—a forlorn fact for adults born before 1990. The coolest thing about a public library is its calming effect. There are few places on the planet as peaceful as a public library. Despite a modern public library’s lack of public necessity, a few have started to embrace new media, presenting endless means of popular entertainment with no money down.

Comic books have been a popular source of entertainment since beyond the thrills and chills of 1930’s war comics. However, a public library was one place comic books weren’t readily available. Times have changed. Now, a public library in most large cities nationwide provide visitors the opportunity to unlock the treasures within the pages of a comic book.

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Graphic novels packed within the rows of comics at the Orlando Public Library. (PHOTO/Matt de Simone)

The Orlando Public Library’s collection of comic books is a site to behold. Located on 101 Central Boulevard in Downtown Orlando, this unique facility holds thousands of graphic novels for local consumers to enjoy within Library Central. Titles from major publishers like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Dark Horse pack four massive rows of shelves staring with section 40-B. The comics are in the rear left corner of Library Central, which also houses DVDs, CDs, and other forms of audio/video entertainment on the opposite side.

A stage acts as Library Central’s centerpiece as well as a “curtain” for the wing’s reading area that connects the comic books and the audio/video content. Visitors can snag a book off the shelf, grab a spot on a couch, and relax into an adventure reading in a peaceful environment. The best thing about OPL’s comic book collection is the availability to check out the comics. With a valid driver’s license and proof of residence in Orange County, a visitor can gain a membership card and leave with 100 comics books. Over the course of the next 21 days, there are comics to absorb—free of charge.

The Orlando Public Library is a dream for college students struggling to scrounge extra cash. The inconsistent pricing of comic books from the two major publishers is a common complaint with many comic book readers of the modern age. Many college students don’t have the funds. Why not go to the library and catch up on what everyone else spends “too much” money on? OPL is also a great source of entertainment for kids who test the limits of their parents’ repression each day of the summer. In this modern age of comic books influencing so many films and television series, take the curious kids to the source material. It’s free and fun.

For more information about the Orlando Public Library and others in the Orange County area, please visit: www.ocls.info

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Follow Matt de Simone on Twitter, Instagram, and listen to his podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

 

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