If you haven’t been to your local library lately, you’re missing out on boatloads of free fun. The library isn’t just for books anymore; they’ve progressed with the times and offer tons of activities that you probably pay for — all for free. With summertime approaching, why not save a few bucks by taking advantage of everything your library has to offer?
A Few Library Basics
Nearly anyone can get a library card. You’ll need a current ID with your address. That’s it. Fill out an application, and you can start using the library’s services within minutes. You can also get a card for each of your children, but you’ll be responsible for any charges their accounts incur, so keep track of what they check out and return.
Not all libraries are created equal. While you likely have a library near your home, you should also check out neighboring libraries to see what they offer. For us, our county seat library has the best offerings for children, so we frequent that branch most often. Some of our local branches have gardening clubs, special displays of collections like baseball cards or quilts, large DVD collections, or extra computer stations. Some libraries have quiet gardens for reading or overstuffed chairs tucked into quiet corners. Some are all about kids, so noise isn’t a problem. Make it a point to visit all the libraries in your area to find out what’s available to you.
5 Fun and Free Activities at Your Local Library
1. Summer Reading
No summer is complete in our home without the summer reading program. Our library is all about kids, and they really know how to get children involved all summer long. They have weekly make-and-take crafts related to learning, bike give-aways and prize packages as reading incentives, board game events, specially designed kid-friendly computer stations, story times, and tons more.
They have presentations on topics like beekeeping, geocaching, digital photography, gardening, butterflies, sea turtles, and nearly any other subject that piques the interest of little minds. There are special activities to sign up for every week, divided by age group. Daily prizes are awarded for reading, and the end-of-summer celebration is filled with water, games, food, and friends made during the summer program. I often see adults visiting just to watch the kids having fun. The kids are always excited to go to a summer reading event and don’t need to be reminded to read every night.
2. Free Music
Want to listen to the latest release by your favorite artist but can’t find your iTunes gift card? Visit your library’s website to download free music. The library building also offers a selection of CDs to check out. That way, you can try out something new without loading down your iPod or computer with songs you’ll later delete.
3. eBooks Galore!
Have an eReader and want something new to read? Your local library probably has downloadable eBooks available. You can browse thousands of digital and audible books for free.
Unless you haven’t visited your local library since the 1980s, you know your library offers access to free computers. They also offer free Internet connections for your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Some libraries limit your time by issuing a code that lasts for one hour, but they’ll often let you get a new code for an extra hour if you ask — especially if you tell them you’re researching a topic or working on something and not just goofing off on Facebook.
5. Free Lessons
Your library might offer free classes for all ages on everything from preserving your own food to digital photography and Microsoft Office. Ask for a publication listing the upcoming classes available to see what interests you.
Our county library truly is an invaluable asset to our community, and we support them every year with a donation. If you’re looking for a local charity for your taxable donation this year, consider your library. Most libraries rely on the financial support of the community to stay open, and the value they bring is well worth the fundraising effort.
What fun and free activities does your library offer?
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