Turn Off The T.V And Open A Book! It’s Called Thinking Outside The Box

Mekelle Bess
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I’ll be honest with you… until recently, I didn’t have a library card. And I had no idea what I was missing!

With the ability to download books on my Kindle and access news online anytime, the library wasn’t a place I frequently visited.  It wasn’t until my toddler came around when I felt the urge to get a card so that I could get access to unlimited children’s books and story time activities. But I had no idea about all of the other perks a library card offers!

There is so much more to a library card than access to books and DVDs. Here’s why you need a library card and 8 incredible freebies you can get with one…

  1. Educational sources

If you want to learn a new language, software, technology, creative or business skill, then check with your local library to see what educational software is available with your card for free! Most libraries will give you access to Mango Languages, where you can learn practical conversation skills for over 70 languages around the world on your computer or mobile device. My library also gives me access to Lynda.com, where I can access videos and tutorials on everything from marketing and technology to business and creative skills.

  1. Homework help and tutoring

Librarians are often times available and willing to help with simple homework tasks (like proofreading a paper), but you can also get access to free help from professional tutors. With my card I have access to Brainfuse for students K-12 from 2pm-12am every day, as well as the Adult Learning Center which offers assistance with going back to school, studying for the GED and more.

  1. Access to news and current events

With my library card, I can access full-text articles from over 3,600 American newspapers. I can search by state and find all the publications I could ever want to read. For my local newspaper, I can even go back and read publications from April 1983 until the present date.

I can also search worldwide publications finding sources from Africa to Asia, to Europe and beyond. I have access to full-text articles from over 1,700 international sources.

And don’t forget about the magazines! I can access magazines such as The New Yorker, Parenting, Newsweek and Field and Stream. Some magazines are only available through certain years, whereas others are available up to current publication dates.

  1. Genealogy and history help

If you’re into history and genealogy, your library can help. With access to places such as Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest Online, I can search more than 7,000 available databases for census data, vital records, military records, court and legal documents, photos, maps, and more.

  1. Free digital content

With my account, I can log in and get access to a plethora of e-books, audiobooks, and podcasts.

  1. Free classes

The free classes offered through the library are incredible! I can sign up for classes specializing in computer skills (Excel, Word, and PowerPoint), technology, marketing, audio and video editing, InDesign and Photoshop, photography and more, all for FREE. Check your local library to get registered today for classes going on this month. Most take place in the evenings or Saturday morning.

  1. Activities for the whole family

From holiday events and activities for kids to weekly story times, the event calendar at the library is always hopping. Most libraries host movie nights with free snacks and even offer free fitness classes such as Zumba or Yoga from certified instructors.

I love the contests and promotions they run monthly that encourage kids to read books and get involved in the community too. Last summer if you completed the summer book challenge at our local library, you were entered to win prizes like free movie tickets, dining certificates or a membership to the local YMCA.

  1. Entertainment

Besides books, most libraries have board games, puzzles and even CDs and DVDs available for check out. And yes, they even have some of the new releases that you can find in Redbox. Except they’re free with your library card!

So if you don’t have a library card yet, now is the time to get one! Most libraries send out monthly newsletters updating members on the latest programs and offerings. Pay attention to these so you don’t miss out on any new free opportunities coming up!

You can also check your library website or Facebook page to keep up-to-date on all of the fun, free things going on.

As a library card holder, you might also be interested in tips to save money on books you buy from Amazon.

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