Free Resources at Your Local Library

Posted on 04/04/2011

This year National Library Week runs from April 10-16. National Library Week began in 1958 as a way to celebrate our country’s libraries and librarians and to promote their use. The theme for 2011 is “Create your own story @ your library.” If it’s been a while since you’ve explored your local library, here are some free resources you can find there—besides books, of course.

Kids’ Events - From story hour to holiday parties, your local library hosts children of all ages on a regular basis for various activities. Get your kids involved and get them excited about reading through these free events.

Library Card Discounts - Unlike the credit cards in your wallet that seem to be costing you money, your library card may be the key to saving some. For example, in parts of Kentucky flashing your library card at various businesses can lead to discounts on pizza, gym memberships and haircuts. In Brooklyn, the library teamed up with more than a dozen local businesses to offer deals on everything from bagels to spa treatments. Check with your library about possible discounts in your area.

Internet Access - Just in case you’re having a hard time finding a free Wi-Fi hotspot, your local library offers this. For those who work from home, the library can offer up a great change of scenery that includes a free Internet connection and a quiet atmosphere.

E-books - More and more libraries are offering up free e-book downloads to patrons. The checkout process is typically just like that of a regular book—one borrower at a time and after a couple of weeks the e-book will automatically expire from the person’s account.

Movies - Think of it as a free Netflix account, only instead of showing up in your mailbox all you have to do is head to your local library. Most library websites allow you to reserve your movie online and they’ll notify you when it’s ready for pick up. The selection usually includes everything from documentaries to new releases and even fitness DVDs.

Speakers and Classes - Most libraries bring in various speakers throughout the year. Authors visit to discuss their books and some events even include free refreshments. And you don’t just have to read a book to learn a new skill. Many libraries offer classes including knitting, gardening and speaking a foreign language. This time of year many local libraries are offering free tax assistance. Turns out that free library card is a pretty valuable piece of plastic.

By Alison Storm

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