What You Can Get From Your Public Library

A few years ago, some of my relatives requested a gift card from a chain movie rental store for Christmas. I was happy to oblige, and as I was standing in the store purchasing the gift card, I realized my husband and I have not rented a movie from a traditional video rental store — or even set foot in one of these stores — since the early days of our marriage nearly 13 years ago. When we were newlyweds with two full-time jobs, no children, and more margin in our budget, we frequently ate out on Friday evenings and then browsed the movie rental aisles in search of something to watch back at our apartment.

Our habits changed quickly once we had children and I stopped working full time. On movie nights, we came instead to rely heavily upon the free offerings at our local public library.

Here are the reasons why I like our public library system.

Common items you may be able to check out from your library include:

  • Books of all genres and for all ages
  • Music (for children and grownups)
  • Video games (for children and grownups)
  • Movies (for children and grownups)
  • Audiobooks
  • Books for e-readers
  • Books with read-along CDs for children
  • Educational, science, and art activity kits for children
  • Toys for children
  • Telescopes (Yes, my library has telescopes!)

Services and resources at your library may include:

  • Computers and Wifi for public use
  • Printers, fax machines, and copy machines (for a small fee)
  • Play areas and toys for children
  • Quiet study, work, or reading areas and places to plug in your computer or other device

Your library may host community events and programs, including:

  • Baby and preschool story times (where my kids sometimes have received free books to keep)
  • Children’s art programs
  • Preschool play times
  • Musical concerts and performances for all ages
  • Author speaking events/book signings for all ages
  • Dance and theatre workshops
  • Live theatre and dance performances
  • Live animal presentations
  • Puppet shows
  • Movie showings
  • Storytelling festivals
  • Lego clubs for kids
  • Science programs for kids
  • Summer reading programs for all ages with prizes (and winter reading programs at my library as well)
  • Knitting, crocheting, quilting and other craft groups
  • Art classes for teens and adults
  • Book discussion groups for all ages
  • Yoga
  • Academic tutoring
  • Community gardening and how-to workshops
  • Cooking lessons and demonstrations
  • Home school resources and programs
  • Used book sales
  • Classes on how to use computers and/or specific computer programs such as PowerPoint, Excel, or Cloud-based storage
  • Classes on how to use various technologies such as phones, e-readers, etc.
  • Help putting together resumes and seeking jobs
  • Story times for children with sensory concerns
  • Free lunches and/or meals for kids throughout the year, and especially during summer months

All the extra programs, bells, and whistles are great. Sometimes I also just appreciate the simple joy of checking out a book from the library and snuggling with my daughters as they read. I also enjoy checking out a movie from my library and settling on the couch with my family and some popcorn. It’s free entertainment and good time together as a family.

Do you use your library? What are your favorite things about the library?

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