Public libraries are a wonderful community resource. Though they’re most commonly associated with book lending, (and rightfully so,) many libraries also offer their patrons a number of helpful services at the low, low cost of a library card. Here are four services your local library might offer that you should definitely be taking advantage of.
Mobile Hotspot Lending
As internet access has become a more integral part of daily life and education, not having access to the internet puts many individuals at a severe disadvantage. Programs that provide mobile hotspots for libraries close the internet gap for underserved communities and open a world of possibilities for patrons. Hotspots for libraries are both free to check out and free to use. Data plans are covered by the library, which can greatly help to close the internet gap for some individuals. Mobile hotspots also support several devices at once, so checking out one hotspot can help an entire household access streaming services, do homework, and more.
Access to Free e-Books
Book lending programs are wonderful, but making it to the library to take advantage of the program can be difficult for some. Those who are unable to physically visit their local library can take advantage of library e-book lending programs and enjoy 24/7 access to reading material. For small libraries with limited shelf space, these e-book services greatly expand a library’s book offerings. No longer are patrons limited by what’s available on the shelves. With a library card and a digital device that supports e-book reading, you can have access to hundreds of thousands of books. Don’t have an e-reader? Your local library might lend those, too!
Free Streaming Services
Subscription services can build up to a hefty monthly entertainment fee. Many libraries offer their patrons free access to a number of subscription services to watch movies and television shows. For movie buffs, these subscription services can provide access to classic movies and foreign films that can’t be found in any other subscription libraries. For teachers, educational documentary films and series can be a great addition to a unit’s lesson plans. These subscription services can also make a great movie night for families and help cut out expensive streaming services.
Subscription fees and paywalls can prevent students and academics from gathering the research and data they need to write academic papers. Libraries offer free access to databases full of high-quality primary sources, such as peer-reviewed journals, books, and articles. Researchers can access and download PDF files of the information they need to further their education and support their arguments for free. For many individuals, this open access allows them to realize their educational goals, which makes this an invaluable resource for anyone pursuing higher learning.
Libraries are constantly working to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The next time you stop by to check out a book, be sure to check out all of the other great services your local library has to offer as well!
Author’s Bio: Lauryn Pleva is a Junior Content Writer for Boxwood Digital, an Ecommerce SEO agency in Lakewood, Colorado. When she’s not writing, Lauryn enjoys exploring the many outdoor experiences Colorado has to offer.