The first modern library in the world supported by taxes was the Peterborough Town Library in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Now there are an estimated 119,487 public libraries in the United States. As the temperatures start to dip, it is a great time to start thinking of things to do inside. If you haven’t been to your public library in a while, add a visit to your To-Do list. Even if you don’t have a library close by, check out your library system’s website. You’re likely to have access to countless eBooks, digital magazines, movies, music, and online classes.
At Hillsborough County Libraries in Tampa, Florida, you can practice sewing, join a knitting group, or learn how to play the ukulele. At the main branch downtown you can research your genealogy or visit The Hive with its recording studio, editing suite, arts center, and 3D printer.
The library here is even offering a new program this year – Playaway Launchpads. The program provides safe tablets for kids that contain fun learning apps in the areas of Early Literacy, STEAM, Science, critical thinking, and more. These devices can be checked out for 7 days and have up to 2 renewals.
Another relatively new program that will help you explore the city is Discovery Pass. Started last year as a pilot program, this year the program has been expanded to be available system wide. Discovery Pass provides one time admission to a museum, tour, or performance of participating local museums and attractions. The passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be reserved through the library’s online system or at any branch. Some of the participating attractions include the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Glazier Children’s Museum, a Stageworks Theatre Performance, and Tampa Theatre’s Balcony-to-Backstage tour. This is a great way to explore a local museum that you have been thinking about visiting or one you may have never heard of.
Libraries all across the city offer special programs and classes throughout the year. Here in Tampa, kids can participate in an annual youth baking contest or celebrate National Dance Day at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, celebrate Wonder Woman Day at the downtown branch, attend a painting class in Lutz, or hear a didgeridoo at UTB.
Hillsborough County Libraries aren’t the only ones with innovative programs and ideas. The Pew Research Center has been collecting examples of fun and funky programs at libraries all across the U.S. Here are a few of the most intriguing.
The Lopez Island Library in Washington State offers a collection of musical instruments available for patrons to checkout. All the items come with carrying cases, tuners, and how-to guides. The electric guitar even comes with a practice amplifier.
The LibraryFarm is an organic community garden on one-half acre of land owned by Northern Onondaga Public Library in Cicero, New York. Anyone can ‘check out’ a plot for no cost. Its purpose is to teach ‘food literacy,’ as well as to preserve knowledge, and to provide fresh organic produce for local food pantries.
Several public libraries in Maine offer telescope checkout for patrons. As part of the program, local astronomy clubs, who serve as the caretakers for the telescopes, host sky gazing parties, sidewalk events and other programs at libraries on how to use the telescope and how to look at the night sky.
In Alaska children can checkout fishing tackles
In Maine children can check out basketballs to be used on the courts near the library. They also have Frisbees, jump ropes and hacky sacks available to borrow. When the kids start bouncing off the walls, the librarians suggest they bounce a basketball instead. They don’t even require a card, just something of value like a backpack, instrument, cell phone, laptop.
- “Now, more than ever, libraries are transforming people’s lives,” said Andrew Breidenbaugh, Hillsborough County Library Services director. “The library is that one place in the community that is open to all without barriers. Your local librarian can be a partner in every stage of your lifelong learning; helping get ready for school, preparing for college, or learning new skills to land a better job.”
- The library is a great place for your child to learn new things, explore new hobbies and build confidence. When it comes to our children, we all want them to have the best. All natural deodorant and body washes by Fresh Kidz are free of harsh chemicals and safe for delicate skin. They provide all day odor control that will give your child confidence throughout the day.