Your local public library has a wealth of resources just waiting to be used. Of course, you know that the library has books, but do you know about all its other resources? And do you even know the extent of valuable information you can find in just the books? And generally this is all available to you at no charge.
Not only can you find the latest bestseller at your public library, but you can also find books about how to fix your car, about your next vacation spot, about your new hobby, about how to write a will, about how to cope with depression, about how to plan your finances for retirement, about what to cook for dinner and on and on and on. Chances are, if there’s something you want to know more about, you can find a book about it at your library. If your library doesn’t have a book on the topic that interests you, then they can probably borrow it from another library through a process called “inter-library” loan.
The local library has free Internet. Whether you can’t afford Internet service at home, it’s not available in your area or your home service isn’t working, the library can provide you with access to the Internet. You can use it to search for a job, keep in touch with loved ones or do research. If you need to create a document or print a document, the library’s computers and printers are also available for this. Whether you can’t afford your own computer and/or printer or yours is just not working at the moment, you can usually rely on the library’s resources. Some libraries also offer services such as scanning, faxing and even typewriters.
Job search help
In addition to providing free Internet for job searches, libraries also offer other job search resources. The library might offer resume software, free printing for job search related materials, books about writing your resume, searching for a job, or choosing a career; links to helpful resources, software or electronic resources to help you learn or practice job-related skills, such as typing or learning computer software.
Do you want to learn another language? Not only does your library probably have books about learning other languages, but it might also have CDs, DVDs and/or electronic resources that can help you learn a new language.
Books are entertaining to many people, but libraries also have items like feature film DVDs, CDs of your favorite stand-up comedian, music CDs, video games, collections of your favorite comic strips, magazines and more. Some libraries even lend prints of artwork!
Some libraries have designated areas and staff to help school kids with their homework. Even if your library doesn’t have that service available, there are still ways the library can help you with your homework. The library has books, journals, electronic databases and more, so when you need to write a research paper, head to your library. Not sure how to correctly punctuate that sentence when you’re writing your paper? The library has resources to help you figure that out. Having trouble understanding that Shakespeare play that your teacher has assigned for reading? The library has books and other resources to help you understand it. Having trouble finding the answer to a homework question? The librarians can probably point you to a resource that will help you. Need help getting organized or want to learn some study tips? Your library probably has books about that.
Electronic databases and other electronic resources
Many of these can even be used from home, if you have access to the Internet at home. You can find journal articles, ebooks, genealogical information and much more. Some libraries give you access to music downloads, movies and magazines through electronic resources.
Libraries have programs for various ages, from babies to adults. You can take your toddler to storytime, your elementary-aged child to a craft or science program, and yourself to a workshop. These are great opportunities for you and/or your child to learn something new and meet someone new.
Did your power go out for an extended period of time as the result of a storm or other catastrophe? Your library might still have power, which means that they have heat or air conditioning and maybe even a place for you to charge your phone, laptop, or tablet. Do you have time to kill between the end of your work shift and another appointment (or your other job) and it’s too far to drive home in between? Find a local library. You’ll have a comfortable place to relax, things to do, free internet, and you don’t have to buy a cup of coffee to hang out there.
While many library resources are easy to find and use on your own, whenever you need help finding information, your local librarian can help you. Don’t hesitate to ask the librarian for help using the library’s computers, finding a book or any other question that relates to the library’s resources or can be answered using the library’s resources.
Many libraries lend unique items that you wouldn’t expect to find at a library or provide access to resources you might not expect. Find out what your library has to offer.
The resources available at local public libraries varies from one location to the next, of course, and some communities are more fortunate than others in regard to the resources that their library provides. Keep in mind that you have a voice in the services that your library provides. Keep yourself informed about the issues that affect your local library and vote to support the level of library service you want to see from your local library. Get involved with the library’s Friends organization, which helps fund the library. Give your library feedback about resources and programs in which you are interested; the library needs to know what the community it serves wants. Check out your local library and you might be surprised at what it has to offer.