What Does the Library Really Give You?
by Sally Tornow, Library Director
You’ve all heard many times that there is no need for libraries anymore since we have the internet. If you are reading this, you obviously don’t believe that, but what exactly DOES the library provide?
Read for Free
Yes, we have lots of books, as you know, but did you know how much you are saving by checking out James Patterson’s latest? The cost of an average adult nonfiction hardcover book is $28.00, an average children’s hardcover book is $18.00, an average adult fiction paperback book is $16.00, a CDbook is $22.00 and an eBook download is $15.00.
Magazines and Newspapers for Free
Magazine titles from Time Magazine to People to Mother Earth New, including a year of back issues are available for loan. Or you can use our new download service, Zinio, to read on your device. Local newspapers and the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and others are available for reading in the library. The average cost of a magazine is $5.60 per issue and the average cost of a digital-only newspaper subscription is $15.11 per month.
Free programs for Adults
Where else can you see new release-on-DVD movies, foreign films, historical programs, hands-on craft programs, or participate in book groups, a knitting group, a cooking group? Movie: $5.00 Tuesday nights, Educational program at local college: $10.00, Korean Lantern Program: $5.00, Making friends in a group: priceless.
Internet and Wi-Fi
You can have free internet access and Wi-Fi, all you need is a library card. You may also check out hotspots to provide service at home. The average cost of internet service is $45/month for the slowest service.
Learn a Foreign Language
If you’re traveling abroad on business or vacation, then check out the free Mango language learning database. Or if English is a second language for you, Mango can help with that, too. Rosetta Stone costs $124 on Amazon for Level One Arabic.
Learning Express enables you to study for hundreds of tests, including civil service, military entrance exams and preparation tests for SAT/ACT, MSAT, LSAT and dozens of others. You will find practice tests at all levels. You can practice, save your test, see your results and try again all for free. JobNow will assist you in finding a job (see accompanying article). Test prep course can cost $1000.
Find Your Family History
For family genealogists, we offer free access to search programs such as Ancestry.com, and HeritageQuest.com. Ancestry requires you to search in the library, but HeritageQuest will allow you to search from home after logging into the State Library with your library card number. The cost of an online genealogy membership is $19.99 per month.
Free Services for Parents
We are a significant resource to parents. Where else could your children find a free summer program that encourages reading, allows them to take home armloads of books free and usually gives them prizes for encouragement? Throughout our summer programs, authors, wildlife experts and a myriad of others drop by bringing their special knowledge to share. We have a collection of parenting books, thousands of DVDs for the kids (and adults, too!), and a staff that can help you or your child find the exact right title.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you already have a library card, but please share this article with friends who might not. Obtaining a library card is simple: visit the library, fill out a card application, present identification and you have instant, free access to a world of information. – give this free gift to a friend who may not have it!