Today's libraries are making major shifts to provide the best services and technology.
Believe it or not, as a public library employee, I sometimes find myself lost in all of the material and like to find easy ways out.
In other words, I like to come up with hacks for an easy breezy experience at the library.
Sometimes as the modern day library worker or patron, its easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different material and services provided.
Here are some useful hacks I find makes using the library much easier:
1. Online Collections
You don't have to step out in the middle of December's icy blizzard or July's heat waves. With a registered library card at your local library, you have various online digital media services at your disposal.
Hoopla, a digital library service, provides you with a vast collection of library material. Also available in app form, you can access your material in your car, on a plane, or just about anywhere you find yourself wanting to read a mystery or listen to the latest album.
Overdrive is also available for library users on the go. Also in app form, Overdrive provides digital library material to checkout online. Here you can watch, listen, read, and much more.
Freegal is another useful way to listen to your favorite music artist virtually anywhere. You can also find out when the latest album is coming out or what is popular this season. With one click of the download button on your iPad, smartphone, and etc, you can have instant music for free.
These are only a few of the many services available to assist you in your hunt for online material and entertainment.
This is not to say that you should skip your frequent visits to the library, trust me there is much more to be excited about at the physical location.
These apps are just in case you find yourself in need of entertainment on the go.
Also, make sure to check with your local library to find out if they have any other digital library service apps you can utilize on the go.
2. New Material
If it's the latest album, DVD, or Blue-ray you are looking for and don't want to shell out extra money or make the permanent commitment? Check out your local library for all of the newest material.
Not available at your local library? No need to worry. Most of the time material not available at the current time may be ordered in advance for you.
So you can still save money and stay up to date on all the latest titles. New material can also be ordered in advance so you don't have to actually go and search for them.
Libraries also conduct book sales where you will find new and old treasures. It will be a great opportunity to build your own mini library or buy that movie you always wanted at a reduced price.
Today, it's hard to find cheap college courses or even affordable tutoring for the kids. Most libraries have adult-level classes you can take to become efficient in today's business world or life in general.
Check at the front desk to see if there are any classes you can take, from resume writing to building a robot.They are all free of charge!
You can even take classes in the comfort of your own home.
Rosetta Stone is also now available at some libraries for learning a new language. All you need is a library card to get started and you're ready to become a Spanish master!
Lynda, is a library learning database, that provides free college level courses for free, all online. You can master just about anything on your own schedule.
Gale is another way to learn online anytime and any place. In some subject areas, you can even become certified. With a library card and a few clicks you can learn a new skill no time.
Don't forget about the free tutoring for children. If school doesn't offer it, no need to worry. Most local libraries provide after-school tutoring for your little one, and most sessions are available at your time convenience.
Need a passport photo? No problem. At some libraries, you can take your passport photo at a discounted rate. If you are lucky enough, you can also get them laminated.
Need to make a copy? No need to purchase a bulky print machine to go with that new laptop. Copy and fax machines may be provided free of charge
Many libraries also offer free tax information and preparation services, without the hefty cost.
Contact your local library to find out if these services are available for you.
Want to try out the latest iPad or tablet without the hefty cost? Sometimes, smart devices are available for checkout or for use while in the library.
Also, If you are looking to buy a computer, go to the library and ask about the technology they use.
Libraries must have their computers and other tech machines up to date for users on a daily basis, so quality is a must.
It will give you good insight on what machines are best to buy for home or office use. Patron computers may also offer the latest software programs you can try out before buying as well.
Want to play a game but don't want to shell out the extra cash? Today most libraries provide games to checkout free of charge.
The varieties are endless, so if you are looking for games for your gaming system, check with your local library to see what's offered.
Even learning games for toddlers and children are available for checkout. Most come with complete sets so that you have all you need and more.
8. Empty Space
Want to hold a meeting but have nowhere to meet? Meeting rooms are sometimes available at discounted rates as well.
If you are trying to conduct a class or business meeting check with your closest library to see if they can offer any empty space, you may reserve a room for free!
You may be wondering how you can get entertainment at the library when you are suppose to be quiet as kept in most of these facilities.
You may also be surprised to know that there are actual music bands that provide great entertainment for library patrons.
If you are ever in need of a musical getaway, contact your local library to see what type of entertainment they provide.
Are you a fan of exhibits and don't want to shell out the extra dollars to visit expensive galleries? Most libraries create displays of wonderful statues and meaningful collections. Some are even interactive, so you and the family can have an even bigger experience.
Also, if you are home with the kids and need a way out, no need to pull your hair out. The library offers many workshops that are tailored to meet the needs of children and adults of all ages.
Kids can learn to make crafts and play with all types of technology to boost their learning potential.
Adults can learn new skills of all trades and play with super cool gadgets that can also enhance many aspects of life.
It gives the whole family something to do and makes for a meaningful learning experience. So gather up the kids and make a fun trip to the library!
Do you get lonely sometime or wish you had a place to belong? No need to spend hundreds of dollars on dating services and meeting events.
Become a friend and support your local library to get the opportunity to be invited to many special events and programs where you can meet and interact with a whole community of library lovers.
When you apply for membership, keep in mind that there may be a small annual fee which helps to provide you with more awesomeness to enjoy from your library. Your membership helps with new books, movies, programs and wide range of useful resources for those who are not so fortunate.
You will also be helping many children have access to valuable material and services to brighten their future.
Also, look forward to discounts on merchandise and/or services from your library and any affiliates.
Not only is the library a place for checking out books, it's the ultimate place to learn and grow! It's also the place of endless possibilities.
So take the time out and engage in the services and material that your library has to offer, or any library for that matter.
I hope these hacks will be helpful as you delve into the world of information at the library.
"Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities."— R. David Lankes