Libraries, since their inception, have had a long standing tradition of supporting communities through access to education, resources, and opportunities for community betterment. More than simply a nice-to-have, public libraries prove integral to our society by providing equal access to the resources many of us take for granted.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to support your local library so your local library can support you. Wondering how? It’s simple: use the services they provide to you! If you can’t find what you’re looking for online (especially at a price you want to pay), give Google a break, and check your local library. They may have exactly what you want, and what’s even better — it’ll be free.
Read on to discover resources you can use at home, anytime, for free — brought to you by local libraries.
1. Free movie streaming
Forget Netflix, many libraries have a vast collection of online movies you can rent for free, all you need is a library card. One example is the popular on-demand film streaming service Kanopy. These films can be streamed on any computer, television, mobile device or platform with the Kanopy app. And due to recent shelter-in-place directives, libraries are extending borrow limits and times. Nice.
2. Ancestry research
Access to ancestry research has been notably expensive. For example, an All-Access Subscription to Ancestry.com can cost you upwards of $400 a year. That’s a lot of money for an ongoing project that means a lot to many families. Libraries have you covered though! MyHeritage Library Edition provides billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos, and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past five centuries. Ancestry.com even has its own Library Edition...you guessed it, all for free.
3. Skills-based e-learning and how-to videos
Many libraries host a ton of helpful and inspirational how-to videos on their websites. You can learn skills like knitting, cooking (hand-rolled truffles, anyone?), painting, business training, language learning, even how to create your own home apothecary with homemade soaps, sprays, oils, and more. Think YouTube instructional videos, but with expert teachers and better production value.
4. Free audio and ebooks
Of course, we couldn’t make this list without mentioning books and reading. While we can’t physically go to libraries right now, libraries still provide access to thousands of audio and ebooks for download. From classics and children's books to Romance and SciFi novels, this form of free entertainment is just a few clicks away.
5. Public service and assistance
From tutoring and test prep to 1-on-1 interview coaching and training, libraries have really stepped up their game when it comes to meeting the needs of the public. And, if they don’t have the resource you need, librarians are usually more than equipped to point those looking for childcare, food, and shelter assistance in the right direction. Thanks to their unwavering dedication to community betterment, the public service and assistance programs libraries offer tend to be vast, diverse, and accessible.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list! Librarians work hard to source and provide the services they think will best serve their communities. The easiest way to let them know what you need is to reach out.
Contact your library today to discover what types of free e-resources, support, and entertainment they have in store for you!