5 Fun and Free Activities at Your Local Library

by Jamie Simmerman · 9 comments

Kids at library

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.

4.Internet Access

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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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • JJ Keist says:

    Our library has weekly story time for little kids, summer reading programs for kids & adults both, and computers in the kids’ & adult sections, plus public WiFi, and weekly movie night. They also do different classes. There was chess for awhile—-I don’t know if that’s still on or not—-and instructions on using eBay if asked, plus regular computer classes.

  • Mike says:

    You are so right about not all libraries being created equal. We are fortunate in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to have access to many libraries. We also have several “mega-libaries” which are enormous community centers as well and offer many things to enjoy. One of our biggest libraries even has a coupon sharing area. There are thousands of coupons organized in categories that any library patron is welcome to take and use on their groceries or household items!

  • Jonathan says:

    I love libraries, they are so underrated. It’s a great free activity and it encourages children to develop their imagination

  • Property Marbella says:

    Our library also has free theater and small drama for the little ones so they’ll be more interested in reading books.

  • KM says:

    I would like to check out the “local” library one of these days, but they are all so far away and in the completely different direction from where we usually go for errands, stores, etc.

  • Debt Blag says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound *too* bad, but another free summer thing the library provided me was air conditioning. This was a big deal when I lived in Texas

    • JJ Keist says:

      “Debt Blag”, I’m sure it must feel marvellous to stay in the library for awhile during the summer! Several of my good friends, including our former preacher (former because he & his family moved to Texas) say it’s miserably hot and humid there.

  • Your Daily Finance says:

    I need to take more advantage of our great libraries. This makes a great outing for the family to spend much need time together. Free lessons are always a plus. Wonder what our library offers for lessons.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    We’ve just recently been able to take advantage of some of the programs at our library now that our 5 year old is reading. It can be a great way to do things for free and she loves it.

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