The local library has something for everyone, and it’s free!
Libraries have changed dramatically over the last 10 years. With e-readers, DVDs, and the explosion of the Internet, there are so many things available to you through your library besides books. It’s very easy to get a library card, and the benefits that come with that card are endless. Here are 11 reasons why Solo Moms should visit the local library:
1. Free books. This one is a given, of course, as books are the main reason people visit the library, but did you know you also can borrow movies, audiobooks, magazines, and even digital downloads for your Kindle? Most libraries use Overdrive for both digital downloads and audiobooks, making it easier than ever to borrow materials online. Talk about a steal! This is a great way to save money, and being able to borrow materials online makes it super convenient when you can’t get to the library in person.
2. Story times. What better gift to give your children than a love of reading? Libraries offer weekly story times, each geared to children of various age ranges, from babies to six-year-olds. Solo Moms with little ones can attend a weekly story time in which a librarian may read one or more books relating to a specific theme, followed by a craft related to that theme. Most libraries also have reading programs throughout the year for both school-aged kids and adults.
3. Museum admission. Most libraries have memberships to many local museums. Library patrons can reserve museum passes that can be used for free or reduced-price admission. This is perfect for Solo Moms who are looking for fun and affordable adventures to have with their children.
4. Special events for kids. Most libraries offer weekend STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) programs for elementary-aged children. These free programs help incorporate all five subjects in a fun, hands-on learning environment. Solo Moms with younger children can learn alongside them, and Solo Moms with older kids can spend that hour or two on a Saturday morning with a book and a cup of coffee somewhere in the library.
5. Telescopes. The Library Telescope Program is bringing telescopes to local libraries for the sole purpose of lending them to patrons. Many libraries allow patrons to borrow telescopes for one week. Solo Moms around the country can now borrow a telescope and enjoy a night gazing at stars, with or without the kids.
6. Research. Research resources available at libraries is another given, but when it comes with free access to popular research websites, it is a whole other ball game. Solo Moms in West Florida can use the library’s subscription to genealogy websites and archives for free! Of course, no matter the topic, the librarians are full of research tips and tricks to benefit those Solo Moms who are going to school or looking for something special.
7. Household tools. Along with books and telescopes, some libraries are lending household tools. What Solo Mom couldn’t use some time with a power saw? This is perfect for the one tool you’re missing but don’t want to buy. Libraries that are currently participating in this program include those in Wichita, Kansas; Atlanta; and Eugene, Oregon.
8. Bikes. Cycling is a great way to explore your town, and some libraries are now lending bicycles. Indiana and Michigan libraries are leading the charge by offering these bikes as an alternative to driving everywhere. In Arizona, bikes are available for borrowing from local libraries to help promote exercise and exploration. Solo Moms can now ride along with their children, courtesy of the library.
9. More stuff to borrow. Beyond books, magazines, and movies, most libraries have even more lending categories. Puzzle exchanges are very popular. Board games are available to play with others and to take home. By borrowing just three movies from the library, Solo Moms can save $12. With one movie night per week, that is a savings of more $200 a year. What a great opportunity!
10. Classes. Solo Moms of college-bound students will appreciate the free ACT and SAT prep classes offered in libraries in Newark, New Jersey, and San Francisco. More than test prep, libraries also offer writing workshops as well as assistance with college applications and personal essays. Other classes available that may interest Solo Moms include those focused on career development, résumé preparation, financial planning, and computer software programs.
11. Meeting rooms. Want to meet up with other local Solo Moms? Need a meeting space for your volunteer organization? Many libraries have meeting rooms that are available to rent. Prices will vary, but the average savings is $25 to $50. Some rooms may even be available for free!
Is what you’re looking for available at your local library? If not, let your librarians know. They are there to help you get the most out of the library’s resources. Go visit your local library today!
Rebecca Alwine is a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. Her writing experience includes military-family topics, research pieces, guest blogging, and much more. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY magazine and a regular contributor to several online publications, including the Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, and ESME. She also has been published in Ms. magazine and the Atlantic. You can follow her online at www.whatrebeccathinks.com and on Twitter and Instagram.