It’s not secret that I love to read. In fact, reading has been a vital part of my life, education, and livelihood for an long as I can remember. But you may be asking, as a minimalist how do I keep up with all the books I want to read without owning these titles? Simple, my local public library. And for those who think of the library as a place for only kids books and reference editions, you’re behind the times my friends.
Today with local libraries lending everything from sewing machines to e-materials, cultural passes to pots and pans, these vital community institutions provide so much more than books these days. So dust off your library card and check out these 13 new and amazing reasons to fall back in love with your local public libraries!
1. E-Books and audio-books: If you’re a fan of e-books, audio-books or streaming video, you’re in luck! Many local library branches provide free programs such as Hoopla, which lets you instantly borrow free digital movies, music, eBooks and more from home with your library card, including titles on Amazon, Netflix, Audible and Spotify! In addition, many local library systems provide free access to the Overdrive app, which gives patrons allows access to new released digital audio-books and eBooks, categorized by genre, availability, language, and grade levels from home. with additional specific featured collections. It also goes without saying that local libraries are also treasure troves for physical DVD’s, audio-books, CD’s, and video tapes, too!
2. Foreign Language Instruction: As a former language instructor in college, this is one of my favorites! Many libraries offer Mango Connect, a free net-based program to help students and working adults alike learn over forty languages including Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Swahili and Arabic.
3. English as a second language: Looking to sharpen your English speaking skills? Be sure to stop by your local library’s circulation desk to see if your local branch’s offers free second language resources.
4. College e-Textbooks: College is expensive. College and university textbooks are even more expensive. Luckily, many local library branches offer eBrary, which allows you to check out or download both community college, vocational, and college level books for many public in-state institutions. The best part? This program even allows for in-program hyperlinking and highlighting!
5. Activity passes: Many libraries offer free day passes to museums, zoos, concerts, poetry slams, and even to kid’s movie festivals! Keep in mind, tickets are on a first-come first-serve basis, and you will likely have to reserve passes in advance.
6. Tutoring: Did you know that all public library branches will allow patrons to request individual one-on-one librarian tutoring services? You can schedule 30 minute sessions you need researched and studied, and they’ll come armed with materials and information to discuss your area of interest, test, and even mandated test subjects. With the cost of tutoring costing often in excess of $60.00 or more an hour, this is a little know bargain for the academia world!
7. SAT and ACT test prep classes: Before you put down any of your hard earned cash for test prep classes, be sure to check your local public libraries to see if your local branch offers test prep, both online or even in person, which can not only help you prep for test success but boost your chances for scholarship prospects.
8. Resume writing assistance: Many local libraries provide resume writing software as well as one-on-one business professional services, which can help you build your best resume to date. Also, many libraries offers classes to help you optimize job search prospects.
9. Homework help: Is your child in the middle of algebra homework and could use a little extra one-on-one help? You’re in luck as many local libraries provide free code access for Tutor.com, a site that pairs with many library systems to provide free live homework help from trained professional educators. Tutors will help with proofreading rough drafts, PSAT and GED prep, and most services are available these services are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese from 2 P.M. to 10 P.M. EST each weeknight.
10. Digital Subscriptions: Are a magazine addict? Save those hard earned dollars and check to see if your local branch to see if your library will give you free access to Zinio, a site that offers over 5,500 current issue options, as well as many back issues on your device of choice, both on ios and Android.
11. Home Improvement Rentals: Have a few home maintenance projects looming on the horizon? Be sure to check with your libraries circulation desk to see if they will provide you access to a local municipal libraries, often run by independent non-profits run volunteers which give 12-hour, free “tool library” borrowing services to local library patrons.
12. Summer Reading Programs: Avoid the dreaded summer brain drain by checking your local library for Summer reading programs. Many programs include reading lists, scheduled local storytellers, board game and crafting play-date group sign-ups, and even mommy meet-ups for homeschooling parents. And the best part? Many branches also offer summer book clubs for adults too!
13. Meeting Space: Looking for free meeting room space for your local book club? Your local branch library often has meeting space that’s free to reserve. Keep in mind, many branches will need you to reserve rooms a month in advance. Check with your local library for more details.
So, folks there’s thirteen amazing reasons to check out your local public library branch with fun, frugal eyes! As an active library patron I was amazing to learn just how many new offers and programs my local library has to offer! I hope this article inspires you to discover the amazing opportunities available to you at your local library!
Here’s to learning,