How to Library
How to Use a Public Library
Has it been a while since you've been to a public library? If so, you may be surprised to learn that libraries have changed for the better. It's been years since they were dusty little rooms with books. Most libraries have transformed themselves into vital community assets.
They have become places of energy, learning, and fun – somewhere to nurture your love of knowledge, meet interesting people, find out how to start a business, or immerse yourself in a new technology. For the library-shy or overly busy person who hasn't stepped into a library for ages, this article will get you caught up on what your local branch can do for you these days.
Check out a book.Yes, libraries still loan out books, albeit with a few twists. For example, you'll find it's easier to get a copy of whatever you're looking for, thanks to a cooperative network of area libraries. This enhances your chance to locate a physical copy of any title you want.
Check outlotsof other things, too.The library is now a multimedia zone, brimful of information in many formats. You can borrow movies on DVDs, music on CDs, and most popular magazines. Some libraries even loan out toys and games.
- If a magazine you want isn't offered, ask about the possibility of stocking it. If the library keeps a list of such requests, they may stock a new title when enough interest is shown in that magazine.
- Ask about online newspaper subscriptions through the library. This may allow you free access to newspaper content.
- Online subscriptions can include journals, articles, newspapers, magazines, reports, booklets, eBooks, legislation, local ordinances or regulations, property information, and templates or precedents for legal or other documents.
- Some libraries provide readers advisories. These are created by librarians who will recommend new books or authors based on your own stated preferences.
Get connected to the Internet.Most libraries have public computers and will provide some form of Internet access, often for free. You may need to use your library card for access or simply purchase slots of time on one of their public computers. Ask the librarian for details.
- Heed the usual copyright rules, and don't download anything illegal, because that will just get your library into trouble and could restrict or eliminate their Internet access.
- As well as surfing online, you may be able to take online classes through the library. The library may even run its own online classes in certain subject areas. Ask them. If you're skilled in some area, maybe you can teach a class to help other library patrons learn something new.
- You can access your local library system online from your computer or smartphone:
- Check for availability of resources
- Put resources on hold for later pickup
- Order titles from other libraries in the system
- Perform many other functions that used to require a visit to the library.
Join targeted reading groups.Libraries will often hold reading-group sessions targeted to various age groups.
- You might find it relaxing to bring a toddler to a half-hour Story Time while you sit quietly in a corner with a good book.
- Perhaps you'd like to learn a language or improve your English (ESL, English as a Second Language). The library may sponsor a language group you could join.
- If you have difficulties reading or seeing, ask about special reading opportunities for dyslexia, adult reading-learners and braille. Your library might be able to accommodate you.
- Libraries often offer other group classes, including crafts, art, bookmaking, computers, open source and wiki discussions, other cultures, foods, environmental awareness, games and any number of other interests.
Consider your local library a place to expand your horizons and stay well informed.The modern library is a place to proceed at your own pace, to read by yourself in a quiet corner, or to study with a busy group of students.
- The library can be a place of refuge at any stage of life. It can promote learning for all occasions whether you're going through a transition, finding a job, learning specific subjects, wanting to understand your body and your health, looking for new recipes and ways to keep house, getting do-it-yourself tips, learning about pets, discovering volunteer opportunities abroad, immersing yourself in fiction, or browsing through the latest fashions.
- A library can open a world of opportunities by providing access to an immense amount of high-quality information with a built-in assistant in the form of the librarian or his/her assistants.
- Ask about lunchtime or other seminars held or hosted by the library. Many libraries invite speakers and authors to come and talk about a topic they know well, and it's usually for free. This can be a great way to catch up on the latest information about things that interest you.
- While the Internet provides ample opportunities for exploration and retrieval of information, much of what is online is of dubious origin and accuracy. A library is the place to find a guide in your Internet searches, including help in searching more effectively and finding ways to cut through the inexpert, online advice to pinpoint which information is trustworthy. It's as easy as asking your librarian to help.
Encourage your children to spend time discovering the library.Children who grow up loving books and all the other informative things a library has to offer are children who will be confident they can answer any question through their own efforts at research.
Start a business using the help of your local library.If you're out of work or you're already an entrepreneur, your local library can become a launch space for your own business.
Consider volunteering at the library.If there are volunteer opportunities available, and you're interested in library work, teaching, or sharing information resources, a volunteer role might be a good way to get involved in library or information work.
- If no volunteer opportunities are available, perhaps you could suggest some, such as teaching library clients how to start a wiki or how to write an eBook.
QuestionHow are books arranged?Top AnswererWorks of fiction are arranged by the author's last name in alphabetical order. Non-fiction books are arranged by topic, typically using the Dewey Decimal System as written on the spines of the books.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get a library card?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can sign up for a library card at the front desk of your local library.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I need to go online at a public library?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the library. Some have free WiFi, so you would be able to get online with a laptop, netbook, tablet, or smartphone. Others offer free Internet service on their public computers. Some libraries require you to have a library card, but others offer the service to anyone.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I use the Dewey Decimal System?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionI am a doctoral student doing a qualitative study. Can I conduct interviews with my participants at a local public library?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEmail the public library staff to ask for permission before starting the interviews, as they may ask you to go someplace specific to minimize noise.Thanks!
QuestionHow do take good care of the library?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerReturning your books when your time with the book is up is a good way to take care of a library. Also, if you pull a book off a shelf and decide you don't want it, make sure to put it in the correct spot. Librarians and volunteers take a lot of time organizing libraries, and we should respect that.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I use a library printer?Community AnswerDifferent libraries around the world will have different printers, depending on their resources. Drop by your local branch and ask your librarian how to use the printer onsite.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I find out which library I'm supposed to go to?Community AnswerAsk friends and neighbors if they know where the local library is. Also, your municipal offices will have a list of the branches and locations. If you live in a city with multiple branches, you can probably go to any of them within the city limits. If you live in the country, you may have to drive some distance to another village or town.Thanks!
QuestionCan someone pay the fee for another person for an overdue book?Community AnswerYes, although you will need that person's card or number for reference.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use any library?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn most cases, you can use certain services at any library, like the internet (for a fee), but you must be a member of the library to check out books.Thanks!
- When you are looking for your nearest public library, first determine which locality you pay taxes to. Membership benefits accrue first to those whose taxes support the library, so you'll need proof of residency as well as ID for yourself when getting a library card. Some libraries will also check annually or biannually to see if you're still living in the same area.
- There are usually limits on the number of books and audio-visual items that you can borrow at one time. Ask the librarian or clerk about these limits.
- Most modern public libraries tend to hire easy-going, helpful, and open-minded people – the old stereotypes no longer apply. Local branches have become vital community centers. That may not apply in every case, however. If your branch doesn't sound like what's described here, ask the librarian or local government representative if there are plans to update the library's functions and image. Find out how you can help make appropriate changes.
- Libraries will not tell you what someone else has checked out (including spouses and children) without that person's written consent. This means that you can borrow an item without worrying that someone else can snoop around and find out what you've borrowed.
- If you lose your library card, you are still responsible for anything that occurs on your account. If your card is used by someone else, and they keep those materials, you are responsible for paying any accrued fees. So if you notice that your card is missing, visit your library immediately and tell them. The librarians can deactivate your card and get you a replacement so that the old card is no longer usable.
- Overdue fees are higher than they used to be. Return what you borrow on time. It's likely that you can call the library or visit its website and renew what you borrowed by extending the due date by several weeks.
- It may be possible to check your account online. This will let you make sure that materials you returned are taken off your account, and you are not charged a late or lost fee for materials you have returned.
Video: Aberdeen Public Library - How do you use the library?
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