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Library Resources You Didn’t Know About

I have always used the library. One of the clearest memories from my childhood is our tiny small-town library. It’s always been a part of my life.

When I moved away for college, one of the very first things I did was get my new library card. When I needed a place to study, I went to the university library where i’d sequester myself in a dim basement cubicle so I’d be left alone to do my work.

Besides being a place to hide from annoying roommates, the library also has a TON of additional resources. The following are available from my local library, but your library no doubt has similar (or more) of the same resources available.

Interlibrary Loan

Your library is part of a large conglomerate of libraries. Using the ILL feature, you can access these other libraries’ books. The one caveat is it’s harder to renew these books, and the late fees are usually pretty steep ($1/day or more).

Library Extension for Chrome

This is a new resource I just learned about. It’s an extension for Google Chrome (but they’re working on compatibility for Firefox). You download the extension, pick one or more local libraries, and then as you scan the web, it works in the background. When we visit a site that supports the extension, it will tell us if the books we’re browsing are available at our local libraries!

Overdrive App

You can use Overdrive to borrow ebooks and audiobooks. I use it to download books onto my Kindle, and audiobooks onto my phone.

Guides, Permits, Maps

When I found out about Sanborn maps, I about peed myself with delight. And while I’ve never truly looked through the other map and permit resources, it’s good to know they exist.

Historical Newspapers Online

I can’t remember what I was looking for when I signed up for a free 30 day membership to Newspapers.com but lo and behold that same service is available through the library for free!! I can look up old newspapers for historical data, or just to see what an ad from 1916 might have looked like.

I also have access to our current newspaper–without a subscription!

Automotive Diagnostic Devices, Vehicle Manuals

I understand as much about cars as a child, but I do know that when my check engine light comes on, I can borrow a diagnostic device from the library to find out for myself what’s going on (and maybe save myself from being bamboozled by a shady car mechanic). If you’re mechanically inclined, you could also use the library’s manuals to try and repair it yourself.

Additional Bonus Resources!

Mango Languages

This is a language learning app that usually has an associated monthly fee but through the library I can access the extended features for free.

Consumer Reports

My sister paid for her own subscirition to CR until we realized we could access the same information for free through a library account.

Test Proctoring

In my spare time, I take online college courses, and one resource I could’ve used was the test proctoring. At our local university, proctoring a test would’ve cost me $25 a pop. At my library, I could’ve had a librarian do it for free.

The library offers a thousand and one resources for everyone, but especially for writers. What have you used your library for? Comment below!

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