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Public Library Services

Not Just Books: Public Library Services - Libraries offer many services you many not be aware of, like promoting community outreach programs and events. Keep reading to find out more about services public libraries offer.

In this age of technological explosion, community and school libraries are enhancing and enlarging their services. A striking example of this: most libraries have their own website where you can, at the very least, look up hours open, location, and some of the services and/or books available. Some libraries even have a tool where you can monitor your library account and renew your checked-out books.

But for more and more libraries, books are only the beginning of what they offer, both on their websites and through their doors. The following list highlights some examples of what you might find at your local community or school library:

  • Magazines, audiobooks (cassette and cd format), computer games, newspapers, videos and dvds, music cds and cassettes
  • Public computers with internet access
  • Wireless internet access
  • Conference rooms, auditoriums and study rooms that can be reserved or used (sometimes a fee is required, depending on the type of reservation, check with your local library)
  • Online databases for research and browsing

Often a valid library card (and in some cases a small fee for checkout privileges) is needed to use the above services.

Libraries also promote community outreach with programs and events.

  • Seasonal reading programs for all ages
  • Community calendar and announcement board
  • Educational lectures and musical events
  • Children’s storytelling times and puppet shows
  • Contests and booksales

Check with your local library often for upcoming programs and events. Most are free to the public and free to the pocketbook.

You do not even need to leave your home for some library services. As mentioned above, libraries are turning to technology to share information. Library website services can include:

  • Homework help and research resources for students
  • Senior webpages with financial, travel, health and legal resources
  • Kids sites with booklists, games and educational ideas
  • Access to some of the same online databases available at the library when you enter your library card number
  • An ask-the-librarian service where you can email pertinent reference questions to a working librarian

And more! Some websites even have resources to promote website access for those with disabilities. A few prototype websites are now available that are literally virtual libraries where you can go and browse through many types of information and query librarians. This may be the wave of the future, but many libraries are quickly absorbing and incorporating technology and using, rather than fearing, new opportunities to enhance learning.

School libraries and community libraries are beginning to work together to meet their common goals of providing the resources and the environment to promote more learning, reading and using and finding technological information. As more and more libraries team up to provide access to greater and greater amounts of information, much of it will be at your keyboard fingertips. And if not, take a quick trip to your local library and most likely you will be amazed at what is available.