How long has it been since you visited your local library. Many things have changed in the last few years and you might be surprised to discover all the services your library offers. Gone are the days of simply checking out books and taking the little ones to story hour, though those features still exist. Today, the library is more of community service center and provides all sorts of media, classes and services for free.
Libraries are doing their best to keep pace with the world’s changing media. In addition to books, you can now check out audio books, music on CDs, and movies in both VHS and DVD formats. They may not always have the latest releases – they are working on a limited budget – but for free, you can certainly find something you’ll enjoy.
Most libraries now provide free access to the internet. If you only use the internet to check email and do a little shopping from time to time, you could discontinue your home service and drop into the library once or twice a week to do it for free. They will also let you print things out from the internet and usually charge a nominal fee per page to cover the cost of the paper and ink.
Some larger libraries that have the space available, have meeting rooms. These rooms are used to hold lectures by local experts on everything from history and genealogy to gardening and tax preparation. Check your library to see what events are scheduled. These are normally free but sometimes registration is limited due to space constraints.
In addition to story hour, many libraries offer summer reading programs built around a theme that reward kids for reading. They have weekly or biweekly activities like Lego Night for the younger kids, chess club for the older kids and special groups that come together to share a love of a particular genre or hobby. They offer special activities for days when the schools are closed such as movie days or video game days, all for free.
Exercise classes, craft classes and special study groups use the library’s meeting rooms either for free or for a nominal fee. Sometimes they will make their rooms available to rent to the public. When you have a need to host a meeting, consider the library.
If you haven’t visited your local library in a while, it’s time you did. You might save a small fortune by taking advantage of what it has to offer.