I daresay most of us encourage our children and our students to use their local libraries . . . but do our kiddos really know about all the resources available at their libraries? Here’s a quick list of little-known resources that are available at many public libraries . . .
Download e-books. Most will expire in three weeks, just like hardcover books, but libraries have thousands of e-books just waiting to be discovered! Many libraries also have Kindles or Play-Aways for the borrowing . . . help your students learn about e-books so they can lighten up their backpacks and delve into new books by their favorite authors!
Download free music. There may be a limit, such as 3 songs per week; however, the music is in MP3 format and usually does not expire!
Download free movies. Most libraries also have hundreds (perhaps thousands!) of movies that are iPhone compatible. Of course, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are also an option.
Mobile Phone Apps. Log in to your library’s website 24/7 to find a plethora of unique and interesting apps you can download to your phone!
Laptops. Do you have students who do not have access to a computer or a laptop at home? Some libraries have laptops to check out, which can be especially helpful if your students have a big research project due soon!
Homework Help. Many libraries offer online homework help that is available 24/7. The helpline is staffed by experts who can help reduce homework frustration and increase homework completion!
Practice Tests. Build your confidence and reduce test anxiety by logging on to the library’s web site 24/7 to prepare for the ACT, SAT, GED, Praxis and more!
Genealogy Research. Almost every library has excellent genealogy research programs that can be accessed at no charge!
Expert Training. Most libraries offer workshops taught by experts at little or no cost. Common workshops include creative writing, creating your own videos, knitting, gardening, career planning, job searching . . . the possibilities are endless! Everybody’s an expert at something . . . talk to a librarian about presenting a workshop on your area of expertise! What a great resume-builder!
Hang-Out Space. Many libraries offer coffee cafes, game rooms, dens, or some kind of hang-out space for young people to spend time with their friends. You can even reserve meeting rooms or work rooms to meet with study groups, work on research projects, host a knitting club, watch a movie, or hang out with friends for an hour or two.
What else can you check out from your local library? Many libraries have unusual items you can borrow. For instance, some libraries offer the following items for checkout:
'Zines, Graphic Novels, and Comic Books
Electronic gadgets, such as cameras, scanners, and printers
Tools . . . such as gardening tools, wood-working tools, even humble household tools, such as hammers, screwdrivers, and saws
The bottom line is, libraries are working really hard to be relevant -- even cool -- to today's young people. Don’t underestimate the power of your local library as a fabulous end-of-year field trip! Have a scavenger hunt, take a tour, ask librarians to teach students about the “secrets” of your local library, and get kids hooked just in time for summer!