Your Public Library: A Wonderland of Resources

The fall is an excellent time to check out your local public library and all its excellent resources. Many libraries offer fun fall-themed entertainment, and your kids can check out all the fun fall and Halloween books they want for free! And while you’re there, you can borrow the latest mystery or crime story for some spooky fall reading!

In addition to books, you may be able to check out video games, puzzles, board games, movies, and more! Libraries offer so much more than books, and they are an entirely free resource right in your neighborhood, offering many free programs for kids and adults!

Plus, getting your child a library card is a great first step in teaching responsibility. 

What Types of Programs Do Libraries Offer?

The programs available at your local library will vary based on where you are and the resources available in your town or city. However, here are some common programs libraries offer:

  • Storytime based on age groups
  • Arts and crafts
  • Resume and job search assistance
  • SNAP or food benefit application assistance
  • Free Wi-Fi and computers
  • Educational computer games and programs like KneeBouncer Games!
  • Play areas for young children 
  • Book clubs or reading groups
  • Instructional classes or webinars
  • Access to language learning programs 
  • Food & diaper drives
  • Homeless and shelter resources

Other potential services

If you live in a major city, chances are your library offers all the above and more. Here are some of the unique services and resources we found in major cities around the country:

  • The Free Library of Philadelphia provides access to health equipment such as blood pressure monitors, assistance finding healthcare, and signing up for food and medical benefits. 
  • District of Columbia Public Library (Washington, D.C.) Host regular art exhibits. Local artists can apply to have their work showcased. 
  • New York Public Library offers various educational resources and supports for children and parents, including parenting classes, Mommy-and-me classes, and college and career prep.
  • San Francisco Public Library offers various financial planning classes and seminars, including one-on-one counseling with a financial planner. 
  • Chicago Public Library has media centers for teens to record music, work with video and sound equipment, graphic design, and more.

How Do I Figure Out What My Library Offers?

The best way to discover your library’s programs and resources is to visit their website or sign up for their email list. If you don’t always have access to a computer or phone, visit the library in person. The library will likely have a printed list of their monthly events you can take with you. 

Most libraries are near a bus, subway, or other transportation stop, making them easy to access. However, if you need a ride to the library, some organizations offer free or discounted rides for veterans, seniors, and people with physical disabilities. If you need financial assistance and need to use the library’s resources to search for a job, visit your local state webpage to see if you’re eligible for TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which can help cover transportation costs. 

Updated September 28, 2023, by L. Elizabeth Forry

written by

L. Elizabeth Forry 

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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