Most people only think of libraries as a place to study or borrow books. However, few realize that libraries also provide free access to several services and events. If you are looking for more community resources, here are 7 free services you can get from your local library.
7 Free Services From Your Public Library
1. Family Activities
One way that libraries bring communities together is by sponsoring free, family-friendly activities. Most branches host several story times and other events for kids every week. They also have several after-school and summer clubs for all age ranges, from young children to teens.
Many public libraries also sponsor concerts, art exhibits, and musical events throughout the year. Not only are they free to the public, but they also expose you to new creative outlets and help support local artists.
Your library also has programs that provide free admission to museums, zoos, and state parks. These passes let you have fun with the whole family on a budget. But, you’ll have to check with your librarian to see which attractions are offered in your area.
When students need academic help, it can be expensive to hire a private tutor. However, you might be able to find the help you need with free services from your local library.
Many local residents volunteer their time to help struggling students. This could provide the support you need while putting a little more breathing room in your budget.
3. Adult Education
For those who can’t afford college courses, there are free opportunities to pursue adult education through your local library. Depending on the demands, you can take free classes to learn a new skill.
For example, many branches offer courses in American Sign Language and English as a Second Language. Not only does it present a chance to improve or learn new languages and other skills, but it also strengthens your resume.
4. Computer Access
As more schools and businesses transition to virtual environments, people need a way to access these portals. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford their own computer or internet service.
The good news is that you can get these free services from your local library. Some locations may even allow you to check them out like books. So, if you need a laptop for a large project or an extended period, the library can provide the resources you need.
5. Paid Subscriptions and Streaming
When you must tighten the purse strings, paid subscriptions and streaming services are among the first budget cuts. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite entertainment outlets.
You can use many streaming sites at the library to watch your favorite movies and TV shows or listen to your favorite music. They also provide free access to search databases like JSTOR or Ancestry.com to make research simpler without the paid subscription.
6. Meeting Space
If you are planning a large gathering, your public library may be the perfect meeting place. Most branches have conference rooms you can rent, and some allow the public to use them for free.
When you need space for business meetings, community gatherings, or other clubs, try contacting your library. It could be the solution you need at no additional cost.
7. Professional Services
Sadly, not everyone can afford professional services when they need advice. Therefore, some public libraries host community experts who donate their time and experience.
When you need expert advice about anything from interviews and resumes to taxes and financial planning, your library serves as a hub for community information. If it isn’t in the budget, local professionals can answer your questions or point you to the resources you need.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.