Thursday, September 19, 2013

Justin Timberlake, Math Whizzes, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and World Travelers all in one spot?!?!?

Do you know where you can go to learn new languages, receive free tutoring services and stream tv shows and movies all for free?  Give up?  It's your public library!  And those are just three of MANY services they provide and offer to the community and card holders.  The saying 'Membership has its privileges' definitely rings true in this case.

Most people think of the library as just a place to check out books, or if you are my age, it was where you spent your weekends in high school before a major project was due. Well there are so many services available it has taken me a week to decide which to highlight because there are just too many to highlight without this qualifying for a PhD thesis.

I would have had no idea about all the library offers and probably wouldn't have taken my son as young as I did had it not been for my father.  My parents are really great about doing activities just with him as a bonding opportunity and getting a library card was one of them.  My father was the one that introduced him to the library and got him his first library card. I lived in Hickory, NC when I was a pharmaceutical sales rep and I had a library card there upon learning that you could check out movies.  Clearly this was before Netflix and I don't remember them having a Blockbuster Video. But that was four years before he was born so I hadn't been inside a library for a while before taking him in to check out books.

One day I decided to go onto the library's website to see if downloading books to mobile devices was a possibility (which it is) and that is where I discovered a whole new world of services offered by the library.  One of the first was the ability to download new music. Imagine my delight to be able to download some of Justin Timberlake's '20/20 Experience' the week it came out!  That is where I found out about Hoopla, it is a service that allows you to stream movies and tv shows to mobile devices, for free. A sorority sister of mine recently posted about Hoopla on her Facebook page and how she enjoys it with her twins. Frankly I was surprised that someone else knew about it but am glad that people are taking advantage of this resource.  There are lots of kid friendly movies and tv shows available, especially shows that were popular when I was a child.  I always love sharing things with my son that my brother and I use to love or were popular when we were his age. Or as Tyler says, 'back in the old days'.

You can also take advantage of a great program called Mango Languages through the public library.  My son is in a spanish immersion school and since I did a horrible job of paying attention in high school, my spanish is sub par and I have got to learn so that I can better help him learn as well as communicate with him to make sure he isn't cursing me out to my face unbeknownst to me.  Mango Languages is a program that offers 60, yes, 60, foreign languages and yep, it's free! You can even choose if you just want to learn for conversation or if you want more in depth learning for grammar and reading comprehension. So guess who has it downloaded onto their mobile devices?

The other really huge service offered to the community through the public library is free tutoring services.  That's right, I said free! provides free tutoring services daily from 4:00pm EST to 12:00am EST. You can select from math, science, english and a few other subject areas and it is broken down by elementary, middle, high school and adult levels.  Seriously, how often are you able to find free tutoring services?

As I said earlier, membership has its privileges and you don't get these free services without having a library card. There are so many other services and programs I didn't mention: help with starting a business, digital magazine subscriptions, movie screenings, story time, audiobooks, book clubs for all age levels and the list goes on.  You can find out for yourself better than I can tell you.  What's the Daily Show with Jon Stewart reference?  I got to go to a taping of the show when it was in Charlotte for the DNC and guess where it was filmed?!?!  Yep, at ImaginOn, part of our library system! You can't tell me that isn't pretty awesome! The library is for kids of ALL ages. Do you and your kids have one of the the coolest membership cards in town?  What are some of your favorite things about the library?