Confession: I tend to get excited when I talk about libraries.
I work in an academic library, spending much of my time promoting services to students. But, my family and I adore the public library. The love goes back a long way. I got my first library card at 5, and my older daughter, at 2, already has hers (and won a prize basket when she signed up!).
Books, movies, storytimes, community events and programs — the Fort Worth Library is just an incredible resource for the entire family. And one of the best parts? It’s all free.
There are 16 branches in neighborhoods across Fort Worth, and you can borrow materials at six partner libraries in surrounding cities as well. You can request anything from any branch be sent to your neighborhood branch (for free), and, if they don’t have something, they can get it for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan (for free). Computers, Wifi access, and friendly librarians if you need help with anything — who could ask for anything more? (And, did I mention, it’s free?)
So, here’s a bit more about what the Fort Worth Library has to offer you and your family.
Books and movies for all ages. You can find everything from the latest fiction novels to parenting books, workout DVDs to Curious George episodes. Not sure if you want to buy something? This is a great way to preview it first!
Ebooks, videos, and music. Through the library’s OverDrive service, you can download ebooks and audiobooks to your reader (Kindle, Nook, iPod, etc.). Check them out just as you would a regular book, and read, or listen, anywhere. Also, through Freegal, you can download (and keep!) up to three songs per week.
There are digital books available for kids, too, including a Disney interactive ebook database where kids can read books, then answer questions that help with reading comprehension.
Story times. Different branches offer different times (some in Spanish and English) and gear their story times to a variety of ages and special needs, so check here to find the details.
Fun place to hang out. Need to use a computer, access free Wifi, find a place to meet with your homeschool group or bookclub, or just settle down in a comfy chair and hide away for an hour and read? Check, check, check, and check. The children’s areas also have Early Literacy Computers where kids can play games and read books.
Workshops, classes, and programs. Early Childhood Matters helps parents get kids ready for school and ready to read. Tail Waggin’ Tutors lets kids ages 8-12 practice reading aloud to therapy dogs. And, you can introduce your children to your favorite classic movies at the First Sunday and Family Film Series.
Other cool stuff. Have you heard of the “secret” menu at In-N-Out Burger? Here’s an insider tip: most libraries have this kind of thing as well.
For instance, at the Fort Worth libraries, you can check out passes to the Fort Worth Log Cabin Village. You can also check out stuffed animals (Molly the Cow and Dillon the Armadillo), take pictures of them on a family adventure, and then post the pictures to the library’s Facebook page or Twitter account.
Even though I’m a frequent library visitor, I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss anything, so I asked a friend who works for the library for anything special that might be happening soon. Along with some of the above information, I learned about a program called Worth Reading 365.
It runs year-round and is divided into three “chapters” that are four months long. It’s open to all ages, and, along with a variety of programs, you can complete a bingo-style card with 15 squares of activities.
Are you a fan of the library as well? What are your favorite programs, storytimes, or services?