I have long been a lover of books, and as a homeschool mom to six, have utilized the library to save thousands of dollars on books. But, today’s library has certainly met the challenges of the digital age as well. Here are some of the things we are NOW using from the library that I never would have imagined when homeschooling our 29-year-old.
RB Digital: If you like audio books, or if you have children who do, this is a FREE app. You add your library card info into the app, and you can check out audio books for up to three weeks, right on your kindle, ipod, android, computer or iphone. (It automatically returns them, but you can renew or check them out again.) We can download several titles at once. These are great for bedtime listening, car trips, exercise, chore time, etc. If you have a reluctant reader, offering audio books to supplement their regular reading can really boost their vocabulary and help them begin to enjoy the fun of more difficult literature. At times the search feature on the app is a bit wonky, so I often search and add from my computer and they get added across all connected devices.
Overdrive: Same concept as RB digital, but different libraries tend to use one or the other more extensively and can give you additional options.
Computer loans: In some branches you can use your library card to check out a laptop for an hour or two.
Computer software and games: There are a wide variety of games, educational and just for fun that are loaded on the library’s computers.
DVD and CD rental: Instead of Redbox, Netflix, etc, you can borrow DVDs and music CDs from the library, and take them back a week later.
Online courses on various topics in history, science, and local interest, even foreign languages.
Technology classes: Software, using phones, photography skills- you can brush up on many of these at a local branch.
Job seeking resources, government forms, genealogy resources, GED, ACT and SAT prep and study sessions, including practice tests.
Movie nights at the library: Our local library has built a big screen into their meeting room and have movie nights complete with popcorn and drinks. These are usually kid-friendly or teen-friendly.
Read off fines: Our local libraries now let children under 18 “Read off” fines. So, if an item is late, your child can ask the librarian to read for a set time period in the library and fines will be taken off their accounts.
Events for teens: Our library has virtual reality games, game time, snacks and social time for teens- and in our city, the teens can get a $2.00 credit off of fines for attending these events and scanning their library card.
So, in addition to the thousands we have saved on books, we have certainly enjoyed adding these services into our home usage as well.
What new resources have you discovered at the library lately?