Thursday, May 7, 2009
Library Resources Provide Endless Opportunities!
I have always been a reader...I love to read everything from history to science fiction to light romantic comedy to biographies to true crime...well, you get the idea! Pretty much anything I can get my hands on. So it is not surprising that I've always gravitated to our local library wherever we have lived. Through the years though, I've found that our public libraries offer so much more and all of it free!
Some of the resources that we have (and many of which I use):
* Free internet (and separate terminals for kids to play educational games on and access sites such as Playhouse Disney, Sesame Street, NationalGeographic.comKids and PBS)
* A huge selection of DVDs - I seldom need to pay for movie rentals as I can get a wide variety for free and can keep them for 7 days (sometimes can even renew them!) And our branch seems to get the newest releases almost as quickly as the video rental stores.
* Also a large collection of CDs - I am loving this with my iPod!
* Another section provides shelf after shelf of books on tape and/or CD - great for taking on long walks or drives.
* We have a used book sale corner where you can purchase for $1 or less books, DVDs, CDs and books on tape/CD...the selection changes daily as other donations are received and the money all goes to support the library programs.
* There is a Teen Club at our branch (and many others in the metro area). They have speakers, tutoring for SAT exams, movie nights, Guitar Hero and DDR (dance game for those not familiar with it) tournaments and lots of other activities. They also have a teen blog/website.
* The library offers college scholarships for high school seniors (who have volunteered at the libary) pay for their books freshman year in college. I am proud
that my son earned one of these a couple of years ago!
* Twice a year, the Friends of the Library group holds a much larger used book sale - prices are amazing and it's a great way to stock up for vacations (I like to buy cheap paperbacks to take on flights - then I don't feel bad about leaving them behind so I don't have to cart them back with me on the return trip!)
* Free Wi-Fi access
* Programs to teach seniors computer skills
* Databases for anything and everything such as
- Free tutorials for English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian and German
- Free practice exams for a wide variety of career training and academic testing
- Free "how to" info and manuals for vehicle and electronics repairs
- (my favorite!) Free access to Hoovers.com to get information on businesses
* Homework help for kids onlne
* Downloadable media - eBooks, videos and audiobooks!
And my 2 absolute favorite resources...
* You can create an online personal library account using your library card number. Once on the website, you can create "bookshelves" and track books you want to read, what you have read, and so on...I love this! It also allows you to place up to three holds on items you want to check out and tells you how far out in the queue you are to get those items. I used to buy bestsellers because I wanted to read them right away...but now I keep a close eye on upcoming releases on the Borders.com and BarnesandNoble.com websites. I put the ones I want on hold right away with the library and often get them within a week or two of their release dates!
* Our library has started something new within the past couple of months...it's called the Culture Pass and it is a great benefit in the current economy! Up to 2 times per month you can check out one of these passes at your branch (a set number for each cultural pastime is put on the rack at each branch every morning). You pick one and check it out at the desk where you receive a receipt good for 7 days from the date of checkout. This receipt allows a group of four to have free admission to that location. The options include the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Art Museum , the Children's Museum of Phoenix, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Arizona Science Center and 6 other museums in the Phoenix metro area. What an amazing deal!
And Phoenix is by no means alone in these amazing library offers. The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System provides a great selection of resources under the heading on its website of "Coping With Hard Times." The related resources include career information, entrepreneur information, foreclosure information, financial assistance contact information as well as nearly a dozen job search links plus one link to a site entitled "Damn Good Resumes"!
Likewise, the Seattle Public Library has some interesting resources including a resume builder online, 24/7 librarian assistance by phone or e-mail and even more language tutorials such as Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese.
And, I repeat, these are free resources, so use them! For additional information, check out: www.ilovelibraries.org
Did I miss any that you have in your area? Let us know!