Monday, May 18, 2009

Check Out The Library

Tip #140 - Check Out The Library. We all know that the library is great for checking out books. You can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars by borrowing books from the library rather than buying them from a bookstore. But the library has become so much more than a place for borrowing books.

--It is a place where you can borrow movies - Most libraries have an extensive DVD or VHS collection, potentially saving you quite a bit of money on rental fees or movie subscriptions.

--It is a place for lectures – At least twice a month there are talks at our library ranging from gardening, to travel, to actual books. The topics are varied and would attract a wide range of people.

--It is a place of book clubs – There are adult book clubs and children’s book clubs. Once a month the group gathers to discuss a book that they have all read. And then they choose another book for the following month.

--It is a place for kids’ story times – About once per week there is a story time in the library for young children. The librarian reads a few books to them and then they often do a related craft afterwards.

--It is a place for entertainment – In addition to story times; there are puppet shows, musical performances, and magicians for kids’ to do about once per month at the library. Sometimes there are even adult entertainment events.

--It is a place for meeting space – Have a Moms’ Club, garden club, investment club or something similar. You can sign up for space at the library and meet there.

--It is a place for using the computer – Libraries often have computers on the floor for use by patrons. There may be one or two or there may be dozens. Usually, there is a set amount of time you can use the computer but sometimes if no one is available you can use it for longer. It usually has Internet connection. Also, many computers offer WiFi if you have a laptop and want wireless connection.

--It is a place for summer reading programs – Most libraries have a summer reading program to encourage children outside of school. Many have a set number of books a child is to read, and when he is done he gets a coupon book for free ice cream, pizza, watermarks or many other local activities or products that businesses have been generous to donate.

--It is a place for learning – Surely all the research you want to do is available at the library – whether it’s from books, microfiche, microfilm, the Internet or other sources, you can learn a lot from the library.

You are already paying taxes to keep your libraries afloat. Why not take advantage of all that they have to offer? While there is a cost associated with libraries, it is through taxes and contributions so most events and resources are offered to the community at no cost. Instead of paying to go to a concert, why not check out the one at the library? Instead of taking your child to an expensive class, why not check out the library’s weekly story times? Instead of browsing Barnes & Noble, why not browse the library instead? There are a great number of activities to keep you and your family entertained at no additional cost to you. Check it out.

In Real Life (IRL) – I’ve always been a big fan of libraries even when it wasn’t cool. I think it’s cool now that we’re in a recession. I don’t know. Either way, I love libraries. I love to read and enjoy the quiet and the atmosphere of the library. I spent lots of time there – alone or with my children. If I added up the amount of benefits I got from that place, I would probably be amazed. We used to go once a week for story time or an entertainment event of some sort. Now that my children are older and in school (except for my youngest who won’t sit still for story time), we usually go once a week to look at books and check some out.

Last week my older child went with a friend and her mom for a lecture about backyard birds. It was held in the evening and included a nature walk on the libraries beautiful grounds. They have also done PJ’s and books evenings where they wear pajamas and listen to bedtime stories. They’ve had PJs and movie nights also. When my oldest turns 9 she is eligible to join the children’s book club – what a great group to get involved in! My children always do the summer reading programs and often enjoy the fruits of their labor all summer long – free ice cream, discounts at the water park, a free book, etc.

But the one activity that blows me away that my library system offers is a Murder Mystery Night Series. About 4 times per year, librarian staff offer a Murder Mystery Night where they come in costume and in character from a Murder Mystery Play. The attendees mingle with the actors (librarians) trying to figure out clues to solve the mystery. There are two rounds to the evening, along with time to get with your team to try to solve the mystery. Refreshments are served and decorations in the story’s theme adorn the library. The evening lasts 3 hours. Cost for the show to guests? $O! The cost is covered by Friends of the Library. The program is so much fun and is a great evening out for this Stay-At-Home Mom. I love mysteries and enjoy spending time with fellow mystery lovers as well as a friend or two.

Now I know that not every library offers this event or every event listed here, but there usually are a plethora of educational and entertaining events available at most libraries. Check out the schedule for the next month or two and see what fun things you can find. These events fit into everyone’s budget!

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