Your Library’s Superpowers
These days, libraries have events and services that stretch beyond books. Here are some of my favorite library add-ons.
You don't have to resort to online shopping when the library doesn't have a book you want; check ILL first. Sometimes this means connecting with other libraries in the area, while other times books could be coming from other states. Most times you'll need to check with the circulation desk to request a title; other times the library allows you to do this online.
Ask the library to purchase a book:
Did you know you can ask the library to purchase a book they don't have? If it is right for their collection, they will buy it. Simply ask at the circulation desk about the procedure for requesting a book. At my home library in Burlington, you fill out a piece of paper with the author and title. Often, if they don't wish to purchase the book, they will check ILL.
Many libraries are connected with Hoopla, which offers access to ebooks, audiobooks, movies, tv shows, comics, and music. All you need is your library card number and you're in. This is an excellent resource for dyslexic students who wish to access audiobooks without paying for them on Audible.com or Learning Ally.
Libraries are also often connected with Kanopy, which allows access to more than 30,000 movie and tv titles.
See if your library is connected with Overdrive, which is another great way to access ebooks and audiobooks. These can be accessed through the Overdrive site or downloaded to a Kindle.
Most libraries these days will have titles in multiple formats, so if a book isn't in the library in physical form, you can often get it as an audiobook or ebook.
Librarians can also help you with research using their databases of magazines, newspapers, and journal articles. Some libraries even offer access to databases like Ancestry.com and Consumer Reports.
It's not just the public library that has expanded: if your child's school has a library (sadly, many are closing their doors) they will often have access to Playaways, which are pre-loaded devices containing an audio book. They come with the device and a set of headphones. School libraries also often have interlibrary loan programs.
Finally, check the events page at your library. There are often fun programs for kids, like animal interactions, crafts, music, yoga, math and science clubs, gaming clubs, or even Drag Queen Story Hours!