Our local public library is a great resource in our local community and offers more than just a place to check out free books. During these hot summer days (and eventual cold winter days) the library is an air conditioned respite from the weather. However; public libraries offer so much more and for anyone on a budget, the perks and services available at the public library can be a lifesaver.
Here’s a look at the top 7 things you can find at your local library
- Checking out more than just books– CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, and video games can be checked out from most public libraries. It’s a great way to cut down on your entertainment budget if you’re looking for places to trim spending. It’ll also allow you and your loved one to find movies and music from their childhood as a way to share past memories and reminisce. Libraries also offer box sets of both recent and classic TV shows as another way to expand entertainment options.
- Computer and printer use- Libraries are Wi-Fi hotspots, and have been utilized to increase Internet connectivity in rural and economically disadvantaged areas. Libraries will have computers to be used (with time restrictions for busy times) and some will even lend laptops, e-readers and other devices. Most libraries will also print items for a small fee, a service that many people use to print necessary documents such as IRS forms during tax season or resumes for a job search.
- Computer Classes and Adult Learning Classes- Many libraries offer Adult learning computer classes that will teach everything from the basics to utilizing specific programs like Microsoft Office and social media. From computer literacy training to yoga and tai chi classes to chess clubs, you may be surprised at everything going on at your library. And during tax season, the Public Library is a resource for all necessary tax forms and even help with completing your taxes.
- Lending non-traditional items- Some libraries now lend non-traditional items, such as tools, musical instruments or even seeds for your garden. Not what you typically think of when you think “library”. Tool libraries have increased in popularity as not everyone has the budget to purchase a tool for one time use. Other items that can be found to check out in some public libraries include telescopes, microscopes, fishing equipment and gardening equipment.
- Volunteering Opportunities- Your local library can be an ideal place to become more involved with your community or find a volunteer opportunity. Many have a “friends of the library” group or volunteer group that helps the organization understand the needs and wants of its community, including concerns and suggestions. If volunteering with the library doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, talk to the staff to see if they have a list of reputable organizations who are looking for volunteers or donations. Many nonprofits get their start with the public library, often through a resource center or with other assistance, so library staff often have their fingers on the pulse of the nonprofit community.
- Free and/or Reduced tickets to Tourist Attractions- Many public libraries offer discounts or free passes to local cultural attractions like museums, zoos, and botanical gardens, and taking advantage of these perks can save you a bundle on entrance fees. The way it usually works is that each library branch has a set number of passes they can check out to patrons, who borrow the passes for a specific time period – usually a week, although you’ll want to check with your library to avoid overdue fines. You can use the pass to gain entrance to the attraction it’s designated for, either for free or at a discount.
- A Cool (or warm) place to relax and read- On a hot and muggy day, the library is a great place to crack open a new book or peruse the periodical section. Public libraries will have comfortable places to relax and not feel isolated or stuck at home. During the summer, some public libraries will also extend their hours and are utilized as cooling centers so especially if you do not have air conditioning in your home you can take advantage.
You don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy everything the library has to offer. From music and movies to help with a tax question, the library is a great first stop for anyone on a budget or just need a place in the community to relax.
For other interesting Public Library offerings, visit: