Guest Contributor: Melanie Dabb, USU Extension Assistant Professor
Most people know about the summer reading programs available at local libraries, but between living in Georgia on my own on a graduate school student budget and having a sister who is a librarian, I’ve learned that libraries have a lot more to offer than books, free internet and air conditioning in the summer time. The activities that are available will vary by location but here are three types of programs to ask about the next time you’re looking for a free fun summer activity:
Programs-My librarian sister spends very little of her time sitting behind the reference desk. Most of the time she’s planning classes, escape rooms and movie nights for the public to enjoy. With COVID-19 restrictions, many libraries are even offering online programs. Check out this list of digital escape rooms put together by librarians from around the country. Also, take a closer look at the summer reading programs. While they do involve reading a book, there are also often fun activities that go along with it.
Additional Items for Check Out-I always knew you could check out videos and CD’s at the library along with books. But one of my first big discoveries on the magic of the library was in Georgia when I found out they have national parks passes and state parks passes available for check out. The catch, you do run the risk of the pass being checked out and generally you are only able to check them out for 5 days, but still definitely worth asking. Some library locations have items like telescopes that can be checked out or 3D printers and audio/visual editing equipment and software available for patrons to use.
Promotions-Lastly, sometimes libraries will have special deals or promotional items. In Georgia, for example, the libraries have a promotional video with a worksheet available that, when you returned them, gave you 4 passes to the Atlanta Zoo. Utah’s online public library has many online resources, anyone with a library card has free access to including Creative Bug, Auto Repair how to videos, family history resources and more. You can check those out here!
So, the next time you’re looking for a free family fun activity, start at your library and see what they have to offer.
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