How To Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

August 28th, 2022 by

The local library is a staple in most communities. It’s a great place to engage with other members of the community and access free or low-cost resources. While you may think of the library as only a place to borrow books from, most libraries have much more to offer. Our team at Applegate Chevrolet created this guide to help you learn how to get the most out of your local library.

Borrow E-Books and Audiobooks

Summer reading by Perfecto Capucineis licensed with Unsplash License

Most libraries offer more than just traditional print books available to borrow. Many also have subscriptions to digital servicesthat allow you to download e-books, audiobooks, and even magazines easily right to your favorite devices. The apps make it convenient for you to enjoy the benefits of your library from the comfort of your own home and may also have even more options available than your library physically does.

Get a Library Card

The easiest way to enjoy your local library is to get a library card. Library cards are generally free for local residents, but there may be a small fee if you’re a temporary resident or guest in the area. However, getting a card allows you to check out materials, use the technology at the library, reserve rooms, and access more amenities and benefits. Some libraries also have membership programsthat allow you to support your library financially.

Involve Your Kids

Visiting the library can be fun for the whole family, and including your children can be a great way to help them learn about everything the library has to offer. It may also encourage them to read and explore their interests. Consider letting your kids get their own library cards and allowing them to use self-service stations, if available, to check out their own materials. This may provide them with a sense of independence and help teach responsibility.

Talk to the Librarians

Try talking to the librarians when you visit your local library. This can be a great way to learn about everything the library offers, such as classes and nontraditional materials available to borrow. If you’re new to Flint or its local library, consider asking them for a tour. This allows you to learn where everything is in the library and know where to go during your next visit.

Attend Special Events

Libraries often host a range of special eventsdesigned for patrons of all ages. For example, many libraries host story hour or activity-based events for young children that encourage learning and development. Be sure to review the Flint Public Library Program Guideto learn more about upcoming opportunities.

Enroll in Classes

Many libraries have robust resources to support learning, such as in-person classes to build computer skills and online resources to learn various topics. Browse your local library’s eResource libraryto learn what’s available, such as coding courses and resources for homework help. The Flint Public Library even offers LinkedIn Learningfor patrons with a valid card to help them develop professional skills.

Place a Request

Using your library’s catalogto place a request makes visiting the library even easier. This allows you to search for titles and ask for specific items that you’d like to borrow, even those that another patron may have checked out currently. If your local library has multiple branches throughout the system, this also often allows you to borrow items from other locations and receive them at your preferred branch. Once your holds are ready, most libraries notify you and keep them in a designated space for easy access.

Join a Book Club

Consider joining a book clubsponsored by your local library. This may encourage you to read more and help you connect with other people in your community. Some book clubs also involve special meetings with the authors themselves. Explore the book club options available through your local library, and select the one that best aligns with your interests.

Become a Volunteer

While most libraries employ expert staff for day-to-day operations, there may also be volunteer opportunitiesavailable. For example, some libraries may seek local support to help with events. Others may want volunteers to help represent the library throughout the community.

Suggest New Materials

Suggesting new materials that the library currently doesn’t have in its collection is an excellent way to help improve it. For example, you may notice the library is lacking a particular section or know about an upcoming exciting release that you want to read. Simply talk to a librarian about your request, or see if you can make the request online. Be sure to review suggestion guidelines before making your request.

Use the Technology

Libraries generally have various types of technology available for public use. For example, most have computers available for free public use, and some may also have laptops you can borrow during your visit. These computers allow you to access the internet and may have standard software programs. If you bring your own laptop or tablet, most libraries allow you to connect to Wi-Fi for free. While there may be a small fee, libraries also commonly offer services, such as printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.

Reserve a Room

Many libraries have rooms available to reserve. These rooms may include study rooms, classrooms, conference rooms, and community rooms. While room reservations may generally be free of charge for patrons, some larger rooms may require a small fee. Most libraries allow you to reserve a roomonline, and it’s important to review the policies before selecting your room. For example, some rooms may allow food and drink, while others may not.

That brings us to the end of our guide about how to get the most out of your local library. At Applegate Chevrolet, we’re proud to serve the Flint, Michigan, community and hope you learned more about using this public resource. If you have another way to get more out of the library that we didn’t include, drop us a lineto let us know. We may even update our guide with your suggestion to help other library patrons.