15 Ways to Enjoy Your Library

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It’s National Library Week! We all know the library is great for borrowing books, but what else is there to do at the library nowadays? This list will hopefully give you some new ideas on how you can enjoy using your local library:

  1. Get a library card. This one’s a no-brainer; if you haven’t already, stop by your local library to sign up for a card today. It’s your golden ticket to tons of free books, events, and other resources.
  2. Download an eBook or audiobook. You already know the library has plenty of paperback and hardcover books, but did you know that your library card also grants you access to eBooks and digital audiobooks as well? To learn more, visit jmrl.org/download or check the library’s event calendar to see if a tutorial workshop is happening soon near you.
  3. Learn a new language. With your library card you have access to Transparent Language, where you can learn to speak a variety of languages with flash cards, activities, and more. Brush up on your Spanish or start learning something completely new by visiting jmrl.org/databases.
  4. See a 3D printer in action, or even print your own creation. Libraries all over the country are creating their own “makerspaces” complete with the newest technology. The new Northside Library has a 3D printer that you can use along with Tinkercad to design and print your own three-dimensional object.
  5. Read an entire magazine on your tablet. Thanks to Zinio, anyone with a JMRL library card can download cover-to-cover digital editions of just about any magazine you can find on the newsstand. Visit jmrl.org/download to get started.
  6. Learn how to make something. Have you ever made your own hypertufa planter, drawn a zentangle, or tried metal stamping? The library often offers craft programs where you can learn how to create something new. You can see what’s going on at your local branch by checking the jmrl.org event calendar or Beyond the Books.
  7. Visit the Friends of the Library book sale. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, the JMRL Friends host a book sale of donated books to support the library’s classes and events. You never know what you’ll find!
  8. Find out how to resolve your own car troubles. Chilton Library is a free database available online with your library card. You can look up your car by make and model and search for solutions to various issues such as replacing a broken part, troubleshooting, etc. You can find Chilton Library through jmrl.org/databases.
  9. View an exhibit by a local artist or group. Many libraries will have a different art exhibit up at any given time, but the Central Library also participates in First Fridays, and stays open later with a special reception.
  10. Join the Summer Reading Challenge. Make reading a little more exciting with the chance to win free prizes throughout the summer (June-August). Pick up or print out a JMRL challenge sheet and complete the required amount of reading challenges for an entry into a drawing. For more information, visit jmrl.org/summer or check out the upcoming summer edition of Beyond the Books.
  11. Check out a book club kit to use at your next book club meeting. A JMRL book club kit contains 10 copies of a particular book along with discussion questions, a recommended recipe related to the book, and other materials to make the most of your book discussion.
  12. Discover more about your family’s history. The library computers have free access to Ancestry.com, and from home library card holders have access to HeritageQuest. Not sure how to get started? Check the library’s event calendar to find a genealogy workshop coming up at a branch near you or visit jmrl.org/databases.
  13. Get help finding a new job. From creating a resume to searching online job listings, many libraries can offer technical help for those seeking employment. The Central Library in particular is home to the City of Charlottesville Downtown Job Center, where you can make an appointment to meet with a professionally-trained job coordinator. Call your local branch to find out what services the library can offer to you if you’re in the market for a new place to work.
  14. Let a librarian help you find your next book. While you are certainly welcome to stop by the desk and ask a librarian for book suggestions face-to-face, you can also fill out the “What Do I Read Next?” form online or use web chat to speak with a librarian directly from jmrl.org (when the library is open).
  15. Borrow a free pass to the Virginia Discovery Museum. Do you happen to know a child that would love to romp around, take part in hands-on activities, and learn new things? You can check out a pass to the Virginia Discovery Museum that will give up to four people free entry for one week. Passes are available from any JMRL branch.

And of course, if none of those suit you, you can always just unwind in a quiet space with a comfy chair and a good book!

About Abby Harris

Abby is the Public Communications Specialist for JMRL.

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