Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting More from the Library

*I tried Grammarly's grammar checker free of charge because I've been editing that novel I mentioned, and if I stare at the words long enough, they start staring back at me. It gets a little disquieting.*

So, you're using the library to check out books. I tip my hat to you. Here's seven more things that if you're not doing already, you might want to start.

1.  Checking out things your library doesn't have on hand.
       Seriously- if you didn't know this, you need to hop on it: even if your library doesn't carry something, if you want to read it, you can request it. If you can't request it from home, online, your librarian can do it for you. Be prepared with title, author's name, publisher, and ISBN. 

2. Checking out music.
     Libraries aren't just about reading material. They're repositories of information and culture, and their holdings include a plethora of media. Here's a hint, they have movies too.

3.Joining Book Clubs.
     After you finish reading books, doesn't it feel good to talk about them with someone? Well, chances are, your library hosts a book club or can point you in the direction of one. My library hosts two a month, and the members are wonderful.

4. Checking out e-books. 
      Libraries have e-books, and e-books have the added benefit of returning themselves. That's right, no late fees. God bless my e-reader.

5. Using magazine exchanges.
     Many libraries have places for patrons to bring in their magazines and drop them off for other patrons to pick up and take home to read. It keeps them from becoming clutter without creating extra waste.

6. Sorting Government Hokum.
     Need those tax forms? Need help with your taxes? Need to know how to sign up for the ACA? Most libraries will have the standard tax forms on hand, and many have people trained to assist in filling out not just tax forms, but also other government forms, like the applications for health insurance through the new exchange system. Check your public library's website or give them a call to see which services they provide.

7. Getting Research Assistance.
     Don't know where to start looking for something and you really need more information on it? Talk to your library's research librarian. They can point you in the direction of books on the topic, help you determine better search parameters, teach you how to use the big scary microfilm newspaper viewing machines, and possibly put you in touch with someone who knows a lot about the topic you're researching. Topical experts are wonderful, research experts are priceless. Some libraries have excellent local history sections and special collections with amazingly detailed information as well. Research librarians are Heroes.

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