The Connecticut section of the New York Times features a cover story this weekend about how libraries are thriving during these tough economic times. I’m here to remind everyone that a family trip to the local library can be an adventure worth embarking upon in any economic cycle. Where else can you find an endless abundance of stories that capture your imagination, contribute to your learning, and deliver you to other worlds without even the need for a boarding pass?Many libraries offer passes for free or discounted admission to local attractions. For example, my family recently took advantage of a pass to the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Admission, which normally would have cost close to $25 for an adult and two children, was absolutely free and we even got a discount in the gift shop. The trip ended up being one of those impromptu outings that has become one of our most memorable.Keep in mind, however,  that given the increasing popularity of libraries and their services, passes like these go fast, particularly during a holiday or school break. They are usually available on a first-come, first-served basis and can’t be reserved in advance. I keep a copy of the museum pass brochure on the refrigerator and usually figure out a first choice and backup just in case.The passes also must be returned within a certain time frame; for example, our library allows 48 hours from check-out to return. So when you do pick up a pass, make sure you are going to use it within the time allowed.Libraries also offer enrichment programs for young and old. I brought my children to a robot making workshop where they used recycled goods to build imaginative “friends” to take home.  As my son remarked, “I forgot hanging out in the library could be so much fun.”While waiting for the kids to finish, I picked up the brochure listing the library’s “after dinner Thursday movie series.” I’m planning to ring up my girlfriends for a “mom’s night out” to catch a flick. Sure we can rent a DVD, but somehow getting together with others makes it sound like it will be all the more special.Maybe that’s why libraries are gaining back their popularity. We’re remembering that it’s not just about the books, but about the sense of community they foster. When I was growing up, the library was the place we came together. Maybe a benefit of our current crisis is that it’s bringing us back to our roots and bringing us together in traditional ways. A family trip to the library makes a great story to share with everyone.