By Broc Sears
One of my favorite memories is walking to my grandparents’ home from school every Friday via a path through the public library. I wandered through the stacks and checked out a few books to return the next week. Today, our six grandchildren visit our branch library to wander through the stacks and check out books and DVDs, “Just like grandpa.”
But grandpa has found out that the library has more than a wide selection of media to check out. Our library has programs for children, teens, gamers and anime enthusiasts, special interest classes, lectures ranging from xeriscaping to art appreciation and Yoga classes.
Several libraries have sizeable genealogical centers with reference books, microfiche files, family history collections and workstations. Many of their computers and some in other branches have subscriptions to Ancestry.com where one can explore and email documents to yourself.
Our library also has a great online experience. My biggest takeaway is requesting materials from anywhere in the library system, having them delivered to my branch and notifying me by phone when ready to pick up. This feature also allows me to request and reserve newly released materials or those just announced and places me in the queue to receive items as soon as they are acquired.
Once logged in to our library’s website I have access to thousands of newspapers, magazines, eBooks, movies, music files and television shows through services like Hoopla, Flipster, Overdrive, Pressreader and NewsBank. I also have access to business and tech learning at Lynda.com and what looks like an amazing number of databases.
Go to your library, or their website, and explore what it has to offer. Some library websites provide online access to Mango or Rocket Language lessons and Gayle Legal Forms while others link to specialty sites like Shout!FactoryTV and the Texas Newspaper Digital Program.
Just remember, you probably have to walk the path to the actual library to get the key to all these resources – your library card.