It’s a new year — a fresh time for setting resolutions and tackling new projects. Whether you want to be more organized, learn something new, start a new habit, or find a hobby, one thing that will help guide you to success is to use your local library! Everyone knows libraries have books, but many aren’t aware of the many other services they offer to their patrons. We’ve created a list of 16 things we think every library patron should try in 2016 to see just what their library can do for them — all for free.
- Borrow an eBook. Everyone knows about the printed books available, but did you know that many libraries also have eBook collections as well? It’s true! Our collection can be found at http://nidl.lib.overdrive.com, and it contains almost 12,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks you can check out on your computer, tablet, smartphone, or eReader — just like a regular library book.
- Download a free issue of a digital magazine. Recently we’ve added digital magazines to our online collection as well! These aren’t like eBooks, though, which you return after three weeks. These are completely free to keep — forever! You must have the Nook app available for your device in order to download it, but if you do — you never have to return your issue. How great of a deal is that?
- Binge-watch a TV show. We’ve got seasons and seasons of today’s and past hit TV shows available for checkout. Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black, Homeland, Doctor Who, M.A.S.H., Grimm, Outlander, The Blacklist, and more make up our DVD & Blu-Ray collection. Whether it’s TV shows, movies, documentaries, or even workout videos, our collection is current, constantly updated, and totally free.
- In a hurry? Place an item on Hold. We’ll pull it from the shelf and hold it at the desk for you. We’ll even pull an item from Markle and bring it to the Huntington Library (or vice versa) for you. All you have to do is place the item on Hold, wait for our call that it’s ready, and then stop by the desk to pick it up. Easy and quick!
- Rent a Librarian. Want to learn how to use your new smartphone? Upgraded your computer and need help finding where apps have disappeared to? Need to write your school paper, but struggle with finding proper sources? Our Rent A Librarian program lets you book one-on-one time with a librarian who has the skills and knowledge to help you learn all sorts of things. Technology, resume-writing, and computer skills are just three of hundreds of ways our librarians can help you learn and grow. Simply call or email our Reference Desk to book your time!
- Attend a program. Libraries put on hundreds of programs a year on a wide variety of subjects. There are programs for learning skills or history, meeting authors, trying new things, and celebrating loved hobbies, just to name a few. Most of them provide the supplies, too, so you can try and learn new things at no cost to you. Check out our calendar to see what we’ve got coming up at our libraries!
- Join a club. Many libraries have book and hobby clubs that meet every month. We have the Fiction Lovers’ Book Club, Teen Book Club, Fabulous Foodies Cookbook Club, Pins & Needles Needlework Club, The Wordsmiths Writing Group, and Tween Scene that meet regularly and are always open to new members! Give the library a call to learn more or feel free to drop in at the club’s next meeting.
- Use our free wifi or public computers. We’ve got free high-speed wifi – simply look for the HCTPL_Public network on your device! If you don’t have Internet or computer access at home, we’ve also got public computers you can use for free for up to an hour a day. If you’re job-hunting, there’s no time limit and we’d be happy to help you with your resume.
- Start your family tree. One of the most popular hobbies today is Genealogy, or the study of one’s family history. Our Indiana Room is filled with resources for tracing your roots; our staff are highly-trained in such research, and our extensive collection of records, books, photos, online resources and more are available for your genealogical pleasure. We also provide Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest access to our patrons at no extra charge.
- Buy a used book. Our Friends of the Library hold huge used-book sales in the summer and winter. These sales offer gently and heavily used books at bargain prices, as well as used CDs, movies, audiobooks, and other miscellaneous items. There’s a smaller, ongoing used book sale in our cafe area year-round as well, so a cheap softcover is always within reach!
- Rent our meeting rooms or a study room. We have public meeting rooms available that anyone with a library card can rent, for free, for any open-to-the-public meeting. We also have individual study rooms available for those times you’d like to work in peace and quiet. Just stop by or call the Reference Desk to sign yourself up!
- Learn a new language. Library patrons can access the online resource Pronunciator, a website and app that leads you through free courses to learn over 80 different languages. They’ve even got a mobile app, so you can study while on the go! If you’d like to brush up on your English, we’ve also got Basic ESL, an online course to help you learn English quickly and effectively on relevant topics including: family, home, school and more.
- We don’t have it? Borrow it from another library. With Inter-Library Loan (or ILL, for short), you can search libraries across the state and country for books you’d like to borrow but that we do not have in our collection. You can also borrow books from the Wells County Public Library through our Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement. Give our Reference Desk a call or send an email to get started.
- Are you a student in the HCCSC? Get your free library card. While we’re a city-township public library, every student in the county that attends an HCCSC school gets a library card completely free! Simply stop by either library with a parent or legal guardian and proof that you’re currently a student of an HCCSC school — such as a current report card — and your card will be yours.
- Find what to read next. It can be really difficult to find books similar to those you love. Our online advisory tool, Novelist, can help! Find books by genre, similar authors, themes, and more — both for fiction and non-fiction titles. You can also ask a library staff worker — we’re all avid bookworms, as you could probably guess!
- Get a tutor. The Huntington Library is home to the Huntington County Literacy Coalition. Find a tutor for help in reading or math to brush up on those skills – or even learn them for the first time!
As you can see, the library is more than just books. These are only 16 of the many services we offer to you, our patrons, at no extra cost. The library is a community resource focused on education, open access, and opportunity for all. Stop by and see just what other tools and opportunities we offer our community and its members!