Find Your Interests @ Your Library
A recent post on charlottefive.com highlighted 10 things you may not know you can do at the library for free. After nearly 10 years in the industry, I was aware of all of the services mentioned, with the exception of the borrowing limit per card. In Charlotte it’s 99. I had to check my library’s policy (Fitchburg Public Library, WI) and learned it is 100 items and 75 active holds. What I appreciated about the list was that so many can be accessed online via the library’s website any time of the day. Between work and two active kids, the biggest challenge for me can be getting to an area library during open hours. And this is a problem for me because I love to “hang out” in libraries — they are my escape. Many evenings I’m my daughters’ taxi service to and from athletic practices. When location and timing align, I head to one of the area libraries for WiFi access to finish up some work or pick up items earlier placed on hold. However, the vast majority of my library time is spent hanging out virtually. I research a title I heard about from a friend or talked about on the radio, and soon one click leads to another and I’m adding titles to my reading list, liking Facebook pages and following Pinterest boards. I’m always amazed to learn what’s going on, and there is a lot. Libraries across the country are taking their virtual library and programming in new directions and offering some pretty cool stuff for adults.
Here’s some of my favorite library programs:
Adult coloring is criss-crossing the nation as one of the easiest and most accessible forms of stress reduction. Libraries big and small aren’t wasting any time in adding this to their program offering.
2. iPhoneographers of Austin
Austin Public Library (TX) hosts bimonthly meet-ups at Faulk Central Library for the iPhoneographers of Austin (#ioatx) to show-and-tell their work.
3. Books on Tap
Kitsap Regional Library (WA) hosts Books on Tap literary pub trivia, team and word games at Treehouse Café.
Boone County Public Library (KY) is hosting The Robot Zoo from October 5 to February 29, 2016 a 5,000-square-foot exhibit that features giant robot animals to illustrate how real animals work. Okay, this may be geared toward kids, but who can resist triggering the Tongue Gun of the robot Chameleon, peering through the eyes of a common house fly, and racing squid! If we head east for the holidays this will be a detour worth taking.
5. Community Learning and Skill Sharing Class
Salina (KS) Public Library’s CLASS – Community Learning and Skill Sharing offers a wide array of programming neatly organized into categories such as Embrace Change, Try Something New, Be Well, Get Moving, Stir It Up and more. If this were my library I’d be registered for Everyone can Drum, Meditation, Reflexology for the Sole, Yoga, and the Media by Me 3 part course. And then there are Zentangle classes, Fine Wines from Around the World and a host of delicious sounding cooking classes.
6. Mind Matters themed programming
King County (WA) Library System’s Mind Matters themed programming was one of the earliest discoveries I made. Impressed by the caliber of programming, I immediately had to learn more and found out this is their third year of themed programming. Mind Matters helps your brain get the care, feeding and exercise needed to keep it in top shape. A diverse offering that partners with community experts, KCLS offers information on tough topics such as determining if it’s time for assisted living, knowing the 10 warning signs of age-related memory changes and Alzheimer’s disease, to getting your legal documents such as power of attorney, living wills and trusts in order. You can also take in a Mind Matters on Film, explore meditation, happiness and gender diversity.
I just registered online for the program Change the Way you Eat at the Verona Public Library. I will benefit from shared recipes, samples and meal plans to help me prepare healthy meals. This is perfect for our busy family.
8. Prepping for the Empty Nest
When I recently stopped at the Nichols Public Library in Naperville IL, one class jumped out of their program at me — Prepping for the Empty Nest. I’ve heard from many that it can be a challenging transition. With 6 years to go, I’m still in the dreaming phase. What will I do with my free time? Hang out in libraries and attend classes, of course! While a book may be the driver of my library visit, my curiosity quickly draws me into the extended resources and goodness libraries have to offer. And interestingly, since I interact with the library via their website, it actually increases the visibility to programs and databases — especially when the website is well-organized and uses common terminology. I’m always intrigued by the diversity of electronic resources offered, and a wee bit envious when my library doesn’t have something other libraries do. I’m not a big user of the databases but I think it’s mostly because I don’t understand what I can learn from them. However, there are other electronic resources that are geared to professional and personal improvement without the class fees or homework. I encourage you to have fun and enlist the help of your library staff to create your library’s version of the “10 things you may not know you can do at the library for free” list. Then use your social and other media resources to spread the word.