5 Fun Services You Didn’t Know Your Library Offered

posted: 04/19/16
by: Blythe Copeland
kids at library reading

The local library is one of the best places to entertain your kids, whether you're looking for books, choosing new movies, or playing educational games on the computers or tablets. But libraries can offer a wide range of other products and activities you may not know about. See if your local branch has these awesome services that make your visits about so much more than borrowing the latest picture book.

1. Alternative story times

Story time is a classic library activity, but many branches offer variations on the traditional. Look for options like yoga story times, where kids learn poses to go along with their favorite books; musical versions that include songs; or active story telling, where energetic kids are encouraged to jump, move, and wiggle during the stories. You may even be able to find an evening story time where kids wear pajamas and bring a beloved stuffed animal.

2. Educational programs

Educational library programs have come a long way from the dull speakers your grandparents used to go see. Now you'll find book signings, science classes for kids, technology classes, book clubs, and more. You can also take advantage of the library to expand your knowledge of the rest of your community. Look for passes to museums, arboretums, and other local spots that you can check out on your card, so you can visit without buying a ticket.

3. TumbleBooks

Animated storybooks from the TumbleBook Library let kids follow along with classic stories, alphabet books, seasonal picture books, and more. Look for stories your kids already know -- like "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site" and "Stella the Star" -- embellished with animation, music, and narration that help pre-readers develop their skills; or for narration-only chapter books, like "Anne of Green Gables," "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and "The Wind in the Willows" that help older elementary students follow along.

4. Puzzles

Instead of adding to your collection of jigsaw puzzles, check your library for a borrowing or swapping program. Some offer a lineup of puzzles you can take out and return after completion, giving your family the chance to work together on a new challenge rather than completing that same image of the jar of jelly beans you've been doing since you were a kid.

5. Digital magazines

The Zinio app lets you subscribe to more than 5,000 magazines on your mobile device -- but with individual issues priced at several dollars each and subscription rates of up to $20 each year, it's not cheap. Thankfully, many libraries offer access to their own curated collection of magazines via the app, allowing you to sign in and read digital copies of your favorite titles for free.