The Secret to the Library of Things

Has marveling about how cool it is that the library lets you check out books for free ever led you to wonder if there was a place where you could borrow other things for no charge too? Well, wonder no more, because indeed there is! In fact, it’s actually not a different place — it’s just the same ol’ library again. Surprise! Calling these fascinating collections of non-traditional items the “Library of Things,” many libraries have begun to offer all kinds of stuff for check out in recent years in addition to the books, DVDs, and CDs that we’re all used to. Want some fresh toys for your child to play with this week? — go to the library! Can’t quite afford the newest instrument for your band yet? — go to the library! Super clear night on the forecast and need a telescope? — library again!

3 Ways to Beat The Summer Slide Without an Uphill Battle

It’s a quiet early evening at the library when a father and his soon-to-be eighth grade daughter approach my desk. I ask them how I can help and the father gestures meaningfully to the daughter. She shrugs and shakes her head. After a beat, he relents, “She needs help finding something to read over the summer so she doesn’t stop learning.” Most parents don’t state the underlying reason so frankly, but this scene is one that will repeat itself again and again throughout the summer at libraries across the country. And for good reason! For years, we’ve heard about research showing that reading ability and other academic skills can be lost without practice over the summer months. Forebodingly known as “the summer slide,” it makes perfect sense why an encouraging grown-up would find themselves in the library seeking “something” for their kid to read during the school break.

Five Reasons You Need to Visit Your Library Before Storming Area 51

Apparently, a lot of people are dying to know what’s going on behind the rickety gates of the mystery zone known as Area 51, and a bunch of them are finally doing something about it. While some of those people are curious to see them aliens, some are probably curious to know what wild and crazy technology the government has been keeping from us. Whether they’re after the little green people or hoping to discover an infinite beer mug (this is me, readers, I hope for this), there’s no way they’re going to succeed at storming a highly-fortified military facility without doing a little research at the library. Here are five things to do at the library before heading down to Nevada in September:

Public Libraries — a Great ‘Life Hack’ for Families

Have you ever heard the term “life hack”? Coined in 2004 by technology writer Daniel O’Brien, a life hack refers to a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way. Life hacks can save you time, money and aggravation — to use a video game metaphor, they are the hidden cheat codes for going about your everyday business. Whether you are a new parent, a grandparent or an adult caregiver, public libraries can be a great resource for families with young children. Not only can you find books, movies and other media for you and your kids to enjoy, but there is a veritable treasure trove of games, programs, activities and services that you can take advantage of as well. Think of your local public library as a life hack for parenting!

Taking Control of Your Health and Wellbeing Starts at the Library

When you or a loved one have received a medical diagnosis, navigating the world of health information available can be a confusing and frightening prospect. Fortunately, your local public library can help you during this difficult time by providing valuable assistance in locating relevant, credible and authoritative sources for consumer health information. Libraries also serve as community centers for wellness, public health services and health support, often partnering with local hospitals or regional and national public organizations to provide various kinds of outreach services to library users.

Does Your Teen Need Volunteer Hours? Hit the Library!

Does your teen need community service hours for a club, organization, to meet the requirements for a scholarship, or to boost their chances of getting accepted to college? Look no further than your local library! Your local library is the heart of your community where librarians strive to provide excellent educational, social, and career-boosting opportunities. Librarians want to do everything they can to help young people in their communities succeed.

What I Want My Son to Learn from Libraries

On this, my first Father’s Day, I sat down to reflect on what I would like to teach my son to help him be a good person in his life. Naturally, my thoughts drifted towards libraries, and not for nothing; libraries and librarians have had an essential positive influence on my life. Out of so much that I have received from the institution and its heroes, the ideas that stand out the most aren’t necessarily the ones I’ve gathered from a lifetime of reading. Certainly, those are in abundance, but it is the very values of libraries themselves that speak to my heart asking to be passed on:

What Controlled Digital Lending does to Make Every Book Available Online

Sometimes, one of the more frustrating things about being a reader is that not every title you want is available in an electronic format. This is especially for books from the 20th century which were published before the “digital era”. It’s a funny reason why. When e-books first became commercially available in the 2000s, many authors, fearing that their book sales would be undermined by copies being distributed over the internet, chose not to make their works available in electronic form. If you have ever wanted to read a book that was out of print or difficult to find — even online — then you might be interested in a new concept that libraries are exploring called Controlled Digital Lending.

7 Things You Didn’t Know That the Federal Government Funds For Your Library

While most library funding comes from local sources, the Federal government supplies critical funds for some things the local community couldn’t provide on its own. Here’s a short list of seven specific services that Federal money supports for your library.

Start that Business at the Library!

Are you one of those people who spend all day at your current job dreaming about running your own business? You have a surefire product or service idea… but it’s just an idea. Normal people don’t just start a company, right? And besides, who would even know where to start? Sorry, but it’s time to put away the excuse that starting a business is a complicated, secretive process open to a select few — that’s just no longer true! Thanks to libraries who have taken on the challenge of supporting local small businesses in a variety of creative ways, you now have the information, support, and resources necessary for every step of starting a new enterprise. Let’s walk through the process of using the library to get a business off the ground — from your first business-minded visit to your local branch till the days when your company is thriving. Libraries have your back from start to finish.