You don’t have to be outdoors to have a fun summer. In fact, some of the most gratifying and enriching activities might happen within the four walls of one of our country’s 123,000 public libraries.
It’s easy to see why. Libraries offer an easy, accessible and low cost way to read books and magazines, watch videos and learn about new worlds in several languages, and enjoy a wide range of cultural events such as concerts and art exhibitions.
To receive all the benefits of a public library, you need a library card, which you can get for free at your local branch. So if you’re thinking of what to do this summer, consider these four reasons why you should visit a public library. You might be surprised!
1) Digital books. Libraries have adapted to changes in technology, and today many offer e-books which you can borrow for a certain time free of charge. You can check out e-books the same way as you do regular books, except you need an electronic device (e-reader). Some libraries even lend out e-book readers—check with your local library to see if an electronic reader is available for use. Besides print and digital books, you can also download audio books, music and videos at some libraries. Since many libraries have their own websites, you can access many of their services online from the comfort of your home.
2) Information in many languages. Generally speaking, public libraries have books in several languages. Be sure to check out the vast collections of books, magazines and music in languages other than English for adults and children. Some libraries even offer language classes or tutors for students which is especially useful for those who plan to attend summer school. You can also find books and CDs to improve English speaking and writing skills. Who would’ve thought that libraries could be a great place to learn another language!
3) Programs and events for the whole family. You don’t have to read a book to experience art and culture at your library. Many public libraries sponsor and organize different types of programs and cultural events, such as concerts, and photography and film exhibitions. Lots of libraries offer special summer programs for people of all ages, including computer classes, storytelling for children, fun and educational games, as well has reading activities, and more.
4) Specialized resources. For many people, the Internet is not a luxury but a necessity. Public libraries often have a computer room for people who do not have computers or Internet access at home – or for those who just want to browse the web in a relaxed atmosphere where they can concentrate. Libraries also have highly skilled professionals that can help you find what you’re looking for or recommend books and resources for practically anything – including the answer to the question “how long does summer last?”
Libraries offer many more services, including bookmobiles, computer classes and job search databases. To find a public library near you use the government’s public library locator.