There are so many resources available at your local library. Here’s what librarians say are library perks everyone should know about.
FREEGAL MUSIC: Download and stream music for free.
HOOPLA DIGITAL: Borrow movies and books from your library and stream right to your tablet.
LIBBY & ELIBRARYNJ: Listen to audiobooks or read books on your phone.
FLIPSTER: Scan your favorite magazines using your tablet.
LYNDA: Access online courses that teach skills in software, business, technology and more.
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) AND CITIZENSHIP CLASSES: Take free or discounted ESL classes, or learn about the process to become a US citizen. Some libraries even offer Rosetta Stone for free.
MUSEUM PASSES: Get tickets to places like the Met, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum or Grounds for Sculpture for free or at a discount.
BABY BOXES: These popular infant starter kits can be picked up at many libraries.
CLUBS FOR KIDS: Beyond book clubs, try chess, LEGOs, video games, art, robotics and more.
EVENTS AND CLASSES: From yoga classes and escape rooms to live animal visits and trivia or movie nights, there are activities every month for all ages.
EXPERT HELP: Ask about free tech support for your devices, tutoring for the kids and resume advice.
Tips from Library Professionals
“[Our] digital products include Hoopla, which allows patrons to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, comics and TV shows; eLibraryNJ, a downloadable eBook and audiobook service; Flipster, which features a collection of popular magazines, and Freegal, which is a downloadable music streaming service.”
—ELLEN BROWN, DIRECTOR OF THE MERCER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
“1,000 Books before Kindergarten, Preschool Yoga, Tech Club with Ozobots and 3-D printing and Girls that Code are four of our unique children’s programs.”
—CAROL DUFFY, SENIOR LIBRARY ASSISTANT AT THE LINDEN PUBLIC LIBRARY
“We offer book clubs, including our Food for Thought Cookbook Club (which was featured on ABC’s The Chew ), yoga classes and personalized resume help and job seeking advice. Some people may not realize that the library also lends out mobile hot spots and Kindles.”
—TARA FRANZETTI, DIRECTOR OF THE JOHNSON PUBLIC LIBRARY
“One perk we have that I wish was more visible to students is a resource called Brainfuse. By logging in with a Piscataway Library card, this database provides access to live tutoring sessions, a writing lab, interactive flashcards and resume assistance. Brainfuse even has materials for adults—the Adult Learning Center fosters lifelong learning by offering GED and US Citizenship test prep, career resources and more.”
—KATE-LYNN BROWN, TEEN SERVICES LIBRARIAN AT THE PISCATAWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY
“As a children’s librarian, I love seeing the look on a parent’s face when they realize they never have to stand in a checkout line with their toddlers again. The SCLSNJ app allows parents to self-checkout, pay fines and renew their items all with a tap of a finger, while their children are still having fun in the play area and before any meltdowns.”
—MEREDITH HOYER, YOUTH SERVICES DEPARTMENT SUPERVISOR AT THE BRIDGEWATER BRANCH OF THE SOMERSET COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
Editor’s note: The library perks and programs listed were shared by librarians across the state. Some programs may be free, discounted or cost a nominal fee depending on your location. Check with your local library about its offerings.
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