What's at the Library? - Services
There are many services offered at your local library, from courses on computers or art to book clubs and parenting groups. Find out about the services available by visiting your nearest library.
Libraries have an array of technologies for your use, such as Internet access, copiers, printers, computers and free Wi-Fi. A library near you may have free classes in computer instruction for those at beginning and intermediate levels.
Children and Teens
Most libraries offer school visits in which you can bring students to the library, or you can arrange for librarians to visit schools. Some also offer homework help, book clubs, game nights or storytelling time for toddlers.
Reading and writing groups often meet in libraries. Many libraries bring in authors or artists to share their work or host special programs on topics such as personal finance, arts and crafts, Internet and computer usage or even parenting workshops.
A library near you may offer read-aloud programs or book discussions. Visit your local library to learn what community organizations, churches or government programs are offered for seniors in your area. Libraries are also good travel destinations. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library is a great destination for baseball fans. The Lawrence Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois, is great for fans of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.
Persons with Disabilities
Some libraries offer special-format materials, reading aids and audio playback equipment for listening to recorded books and magazines. There may also be equipment available to enlarge printed materials for those with visual disabilities.
Libraries may offer book collections, job preparation, self-awareness and parenting programs for incarcerated persons in jail and ex-inmates. Visit your local library to learn more.
Books by Mail
For individuals who are unable to leave their homes, some libraries offer book mail services. The mail service may also offer recorded and Braille books for people who have difficulty reading standard printed materials. Call, visit or log on to your local library’s Web site to ask if this service is available.
Libraries often offer online, e-mail or chat reference services in English, Spanish and other languages for researchers. In-depth research, photocopies and document delivery assistance may also be available. Find out what access a local college or university library offers.
Classes teaching English as a second language are offered at some libraries. Citizenship and immigration resources such as CDs, DVDs and Web site recommendations may be available for people preparing for the citizenship exam. Programs offered at libraries may vary. For example, Chicago’s Harold Washington Library hosts English as a Second Language (ESL) programs the first Monday of every month, while the Seattle Public Library offers its ESL program every first Tuesday of the month. Other programs that libraries may offer include story time for toddlers, arts and crafts workshops, and computer workshops.
Community Outreach Services
Libraries often host programs to celebrate special events and culture, or to serve a wide array of people such as the gay community, native and tribal communities, people of color or people with disabilities, to name a few. Find out more by checking out the outreach service or special events and programs calendar at your library.