Everyone has memories of their local library. Mine is curling up in a giant fluffy rainbow serpent cushion with a book in one hand and my mum in the other at Burnside Library. But for some people, libraries are for more than just reading.
For new mama (and papa) bears it might be their saving grace and their one outing for the day with Babytime. For others, it might be the only place they can go where they feel connected to the outside world via the net.
SA councils invest a whopping $127 million every year to operate 100+ council libraries and support another 40 school/community libraries in rural and remote areas, so it’s no wonder they’ve become thriving community hubs. I mean, how awesome is is that some local libraries have podcasting studios where you can record your own podcast — and learn all about how to share it with the world.
If you’re refamiliarising yourself with libraries after a few years without them, then wrap your eyes and ears around this….
Eleven things you can do at your local council library that you probs didn’t know about…
1. Give your kids a head start
I fell in love with my local library again when I had kids — and so did my parents. We’d all go together to our council library and take the babies to Storytime and Babytime. They loved it and so did we! “Studies show the most active period of brain development is from birth to three years of age. Repeated positive early experiences of language, rhyme and stories strengthen connections in a child’s brain. Libraries provide free books and programs to parents of zero to five-year-olds,” says Benita Parsons, Library Leader.
“Mum, can I have that new toy?”… “Muuuuum, I’m bored!” Cue the Toy Library. You’ll save heaps of cashola by borrowing toys instead of buying them. Check with your library to see if they offer a toy collection.
3. Love popular magazines? Get them FREE on your iPad/tablet or smartphone
Nothing better than curling up with a new mag and a cuppa, am I right? Now you can tuck into the latest copies of big name titles like Better Homes & Gardens, Gardening Australia, The Guardian, Vogue Australia, Women’s Weekly, Inside Sport and many, many more! Oh, and of course, the Adelady magazine — how could we forget that!
4. Access more than 50,000 eBook and audiobook titles
Can’t concentrate for long enough to read a whole book? Listening to books on a device has become one of the most popular ways to access books. You can borrow anytime and enjoy automatic returns with no late fees. The SA collection keeps growing and they’re always adding popular new titles.
Because all of SA’s council libraries are now connected by the OneCard network, you can borrow something at one library and return it at another. Plus you’ve now got millions of items to choose from as all the collections from different libraries have been combined now.
6. There’s always something on
Many council libraries have regular programs and activities for all ages, from children’s storytime to book groups, special events, author talks, educational programs and craft sessions. Check with your council library to see what’s coming up. School holidays are a must, there’s always something fun and free to do with the cheeky monkeys at your local.
Now there’s no excuse for our parents to confuse Facetime and Facebook. Not only do all libraries provide access to Internet, PCs and printing, but many also have educational programs to encourage people (eg, seniors… hello mum and dad) to be more comfortable with tech like iPads and smartphones, how to be safe online, online shopping and using social media. Some libraries also have ‘maker spaces’ where you can learn how to use 3D printers and learn about robotics and coding. If you have elderly parents who are looking to stay physically and mentally active, then tell them to hit up their council library!
Justices of the Peace (JPs) are available at many libraries and provide a range of services — we got our passport photos signed, back when travelling on a plane was a ‘thing’. Those were the days! Just check with your council library for availability. Oh and they also have meeting rooms so you can book out one of their cool spaces and have your own work meeting using all their facilities.
Craving ‘me time’? Me too! Your local library is the perfect place to indulge in some ‘me time’ where you can sink into some comfortable furniture and read and browse whatever takes your fancy. Maybe go to Italy in the travel section, or learn how to cook your next dinner party feast with a cookbook.
Gone are the days of shabby old library cards — now, more than 600,000 South Australians are active members of the OneCard library network! It’s like having your entire library in your pocket! You can look up items on the catalogue and place holds with just a few clicks. This smart little app allows you to access any library in SA and, even if you pick up a book in a cafe or shop, you can scan the barcode with your app and it’ll tell you which libraries have that book in SA. Isn’t that so clever!
I’m certainly not encouraging laziness buuuut, you don’t have to physically walk into a council library to join these days. You can join at www.libraries.sa.gov.au/join for digital membership and start accessing digital services immediately (eg, eBooks, digital magazines etc). To borrow physical library materials, you’ll need to visit your library with ID and have your account upgraded.
So, maybe it’s time to get reacquainted with your local public library, and fall in love with it over again!