There are so many benefits of a library card! As you may know, libraries have evolved into places that do so much more than lend books. Your neighborhood library can be a rich source of entertainment and education…and best of all, everything is free.
We live just a few blocks from a wonderful public library, and even though we visit every week I keep finding new offerings. Here are some cool things you might find at your library
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1. Books in All Formats
In addition to good old regular books, most libraries carry other formats like large print books, ebooks and audio books.
Just the basic process of checking out a book has evolved, too. If I’m interested in a book, often I can check out and instantly download an eBook to my Kindle. Otherwise, I can reserve a hard copy of the book online and our library sends us an e-mail when the book is ready to be picked up.
Some libraries lend e-readers as well, so you can read the latest bestseller in whatever format you like.
Most libraries carry a large inventory of movies, CDs, DVDs, games and magazines.
Some libraries host in-person and online book signings and events to meet authors.
3. Community Connections
Libraries have evolved into places where we can connect with other people. Our library has an art gallery, free meeting rooms, and a cozy cafe that’s a wonderful place to go work over a cup of tea.
Some libraries have clubs for interests like writing and book discussions, too.
4. High Tech Help
Our library has a 3-D printer set up so that people can try making their own three-dimensional plastic objects, and loans ebook readers and Go-Pro cameras.
One of the libraries in our district also has a professional recording studio that can be used for free.
5. Research Materials
Some libraries have subscriptions to genealogy websites as well as ancestry databases that can be accessed for free.
When my daughter was shopping for a used car, she borrowed Consumer Reports magazine and researched the most reliable makes and models.
6. Kids’ Programs
For many of us, the children’s library is where we first developed a passion for reading books.
Our library offers a delightful kids’ library with story hour and special events, and a summer reading program with prizes awarded gives children extra motivation to read and finish books.
7. Home Improvement Help
Last year our library partnered with our local power company to loan out portable power meters. We were able to borrow a meter to plug into home appliances and learn how much energy we’re using. You may want to check with your utility company or library to see if a similar lending program is in place.
The Oakland Public Library has over 5000 tools for loan!
8. Free Seeds to Grow Food
Some libraries even “lend” seeds to grow fruits and vegetables! Patrons borrow a packet of seeds, and at harvest time gather the seeds from the most robust produce and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.
The Basalt Regional Library here in Colorado has a Seed Library, and users report good success with the seeds they’re planting because they’ve already proved hardy in the mountain town’s short growing season.
9. Free Classes
Our library district offers a host of free classes, from income tax preparation to computer programs to creative writing and even defensive driving.
One of the other libraries in our district has a crafty “maker space” with free access to things like sewing machines, a button and badge maker, knitting and crochet supplies, embroidery and quilting supplies, drills, dremels, soldering irons and more.
10. Tickets to Local Attractions
Some libraries offer free passes to local museums and other cultural and educational attractions. The Boston Public Library lends single-day passes to the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
How About You?
Your challenge is to explore your public library and see what’s new. If you don’t yet have a library card, sign up for one!
You could also visit your library district’s website and check out the online offerings. If you discover something new and surprising at your library, we’d love to hear about your experience in the Comments section of this post or at the Money Diet Community Facebook Group.
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