Libraries are getting more popular as Millennials and Gen Z re-embrace the idea of not purchasing everything we consume. It’s one of the only places you can go outside of your home where you’re not expected to spend money. Most libraries offer tons of of books, of course, but also other media like magazines, DVDs and Blu-Rays, video games, newspapers, and even instruments, job interview clothes, and more.
You can download free movies, TV shows, audio books, and eBooks via apps like Hoopla and Libby using just your library card.
You can use your library to look for jobs, scour the internet, take classes, join book clubs, gardening clubs, foreign language conversation clubs, all kinds of other meetups, and to grab awesome used books for sale.
But I already know what makes my local library the shit. Now we want to know what makes YOURS amazing. There are local libraries across the world doing really great things with charities, kids, older folks, and more, and we’d like to know about it.
If you have something fun, useful, or just different going on at your library, leave a comment with your city, the name of the library, and what’s happening there that we should know about so we can visit where we can.
Comments on What’s the best thing about your local library?
Our local library’s reading program is amazing. It offers kids the chance to build robots, explore mythologies, and participate in interpretive dance. It connects reading with art, science, math, and culture. It’s also connected to a free lunch program, so kids are fed and educated over the summer.
My local library is NYPL, and I’m obsessed with the access they give by having e-books and online courses through Libby and Lynda. They’re complete game changers for me!
NYPL also offers free literacy classes at almost all of their branches! Love NYPL so much.
That’s awesome! I know my local branch also has ESL classes which are pretty fantastic 🙂
To be honest, I haven’t visited my local library in many years. 🙁
But when I first moved to the area, I was pretty broke and it was an important resource for me. So shout-out to the San Diego Public library system for the following:
1) Internet access! They have computers with internet access! Granted the computers are old and slow but you know… if you needed the internet for something it was there!
2) You could “rent” PC games. ( What?? ) Probably not the popular ones — I’m not a gamer so don’t ask me. But I had a small nephew and they were good enough for him.
3) You could rent movies! (Again, not the current ones. )
4) They had a weekly art program for small children. I would take my niece and nephew there both to get books and make a small art project.
5) They have an online search engine that not only lets you search the contents of all but a few of the San Diego Libraries, but you could REQUEST A BOOK BE SENT TO YOUR LOCAL BRANCH. Holy amazeballs — this was like amazon for books but for FREE.
But the best thing about my library — and really any library I’ve ever been to — is that it’s clean, well-lit and quiet with comfortable chairs in a climate-controlled space, an oasis of calm when I really need it.
I can tell you haven’t been to your local library in many years! haha. Most libraries have the latest movies and fast, reliable internet. And we have plenty of Wii, Playstation, X-Box games to rent as well. And as far as I know, pretty much all library systems will ship books from another library to your local branch free of charge as well. I recommend you check out your local library again and you’d be surprised at how they keep up with the times!
My library (Kinderhook Memorial Library in upstate New York) has a museum pass program for 30-odd museums in New York and Massachusetts. It’s fantastic, and something I’ve used many times. Most recently over the weekend, when I took my daughter to Hancock Shaker Village for their Country Fair and Fiber Festival! They also have a lot of great activities for kids and teens. My daughter is a bit young for most of it, but I can’t wait to let her experience all the fun as she gets older.
My local library is awesome.
The thing I use most often is my library’s worldwide Ancestry.com account. You can only access the account at the library, but it’s honestly a good way to make sure I’m focused on my research and that I don’t stay up until 3 AM while doing it.
The also offer a bunch of other great services. My friend is a youth librarian who runs a weekly D&D game for teens. You can borrow museum passes for lots of museums in the area. They offer adult ed and English as a foreign language tutoring run by volunteers and language learning tools and online classes. For free. I’m glad my taxes are paying for these services.
There’s nothing super special going on in my library – nothing that competes with the big cities you’re talking about. But in a small city, they get books to people who can’t afford them, and provide food and shelter all the time for the homeless folks and over the summer for school kids, and help people make sense of computerized tax return forms. It’s good work. I’m glad someone’s there to do it.
There are so many aspects of the Arlington County Public Library that I love! They have “recess after hours” events once or twice a year for people in their 20’s and 30’s to gather and play games. There are usually a few hundred people who turn out and the games include nerf guns in the book stacks, 4 square in the lobby, and human “hungry, hungry, hippos.”
On a regular basis one of the most awesome aspects of the library is the maker space and the board games you can check out. I also use libby to download audio books all the time.
I forgot that one of my favorite parts of my library is their gardening tool lending library! I can borrow a wheelbarrow, tree trimmer, and all sorts of other gardening implements I might only need once a year.
I’m in the UK and our city’s central library has a great comic collection (especially of LGBTQ+ themes) thanks to the outreach work of Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival, who run an annual comic con in Yorkshire. During the festival they often run events in the library too, which is great for local people.
Another thing I love about our library is their e-book rental scheme. I don’t even need to leave the house to use them!
I am a branch manager at my local library so I am going to do a not so humble brag about my library system.
We offer dynamic programming for all ages, the more obvious things like storytimes, Toddler Art, book clubs, board game nights, and Summer Reading. We also do more out of the box programming like an Autism Resource Group for parents (my personal baby), STEM programming for children and adults, monthly live music from local(ish) musicians, monthly discussions about issues that our patrons find relevant such as the opioid epidemic, vaccinations, and zero waste. We also participate in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and we have a Storywalk in one of the local parks near one of our branches. One of our newest creations is a Kid-Run Newspaper, the first issue has yet to be published but have been meeting for a few months and have started to compile articles, poetry, artwork, and comic strips for their first issue
We also do a lot of outreach into our community. You will find us doing Sensory Storytime at local schools, storytime for kids in the hospital, back to school nights to get kids signed up for library cards. We have spoken to neighborhood associations, Women’s Care Centers and more about our services.
We live in a low income neighbor hood in DC that is far from the downtown core. So their are not a lot of opportunities for our older kids to have productive places to hangout. Our local library does weekly teen movie nights, art nights, game nights, etc. The library one neighborhood over does regular senior events as that neighborhood is predominantly an aging population.
Harold Washington Public Library in Chicago has an awesome maker space with free lessons/open studio time! It includes laser cutters, 3D printers, sewing machines, sergers, soldering irons, and other miscellaneous tools for free (or very cheap- $1 per hour of 3D printing to cover materials). There’s also a media lab with video cameras, lighting equipment, drawing tablets and animation/design software to make your own digital media. There are soundproofed rooms for blogmakinm or music practice.
All this AND you can get a couple books!
Shout out to the libraries in the rural region of Colorado I grew up in. Pines & Plains libraries several locations serve some very small towns (the one I grew up in is even unincorporated), but they offer crafting (think pumpkin book folding, painting, leaf art, knitting for the homeless and orphanages), game nights, book and film discussions, a writer’s workshop, Genealogy groups, explanations of health insurance options, and story times! Also books, DVDs, and probably a bunch I’m missing. I may not live there anymore, but I still follow what they are doing, because they’re truly the heart of the communities!
My older boss was complaining about how parents just “dump” their kids at the library during the summer. And I was shocked because 1) Libraries are public spaces, all people are welcome regardless of age, sex, race, etc, etc. Can’t throw kids out because you don’t like them and 2) That was my favorite thing as a kid! My Mom was in school studying to be a nurse practitioner and she would often come to the library to work, while my sister and I just browsed. I remember sitting on the floor reading non-fiction books FOR FUN, which makes lots of sense to me, but I know would shock people I wasn’t reading a book on pokemon or i dunno, skateboard? Also I lived in a small town and would bike, unattended to my local library, which I am sure would totally be frowned on by many these days.
I will have to give a shout out to my current library for having some non-traditional things to check out. Including cake pans, cookie cutters, and board games. My son CONSTANTLY is asking to check out the cake pans, but we can’t eat fast enough. But it is great so you don’t have buy a themed cake pan for a birthday party and only use it once.
The Salt Lake City downtown library has beehives on the roof!