By Amber Mabe
Over the last 200 years, public libraries have provided access to books of all kinds. However, books are only the beginning of what the local library has to offer. In the dreary midwinter, you may be thinking about starting a new hobby, venturing out with a business idea, or looking for ways to connect and make new friends. Here are eight services provided by your local library that you might not know about.
- Language Learning Resources
Holding a library card in the Cardinal Library system grants access to dozens of digital resources, one of which is the language learning software Transparent. Valued at $150 per year, a Transparent Language Learning account is free to anyone with a valid Forsyth library card. With over 100 languages available, including ESL lessons tailored to speakers of dozens of native languages, the learning possibilities are endless. The computer-based learning system also includes downloadable e-books and proficiency tests for learners of all levels.
- Job and Résumé Assistance
Finding a job can be difficult. The local library makes things a little easier by providing free access to the internet and public computers, as well as offering free résumé worksheets and templates. The Paddison Memorial Branch even allows ten free prints per day to patrons, which can be helpful for printing off résumés or job applications. Additionally, dozens of online resources are available through the library’s website, including core skills training, career guidance, and job search engines.
- Online Exercise Programs
Gym closed? Want to try something new without committing to a membership? No problem. The Paddison Memorial Branch is offering yoga classes at no cost to library patrons. The classes take place online via zoom and are suitable for all ages and levels of yoga practice. Participants only need a free zoom account to participate. The next class is February 11, 2021. If you would like to try it out, simply follow the link from the library’s homepage – no registration required.
- Free Activities for Kids and Teens
You may be familiar with library story time, but that is only the beginning of the wealth of resources available to young people at your local branch. Virtual story time allows kids to participate in engaging, live storytelling from the comfort of home. Other online resources include a huge virtual library for kids and teens, including the Tumble Book Library, a collection of children’s books in a read-along animated format. Teens can participate in online book clubs and connect with other young people with a shared interest in reading. Students with a library card have access to free after-school tutoring through Tutor.com, a service of the Princeton Review. Craft kits for all ages are often available for pickup at local branches, with instructions on how to do the projects at home. Paddison Memorial also carries adventure kits for young readers who have an interest in exploring nature.
- Adult Education Resources
Whether you want to brush up on powerpoint skills, delve into family history, or simply figure out how to check your email, library card holders in the Forsyth library system can access a wealth of online learning courses through GCF Learn Free. This includes classes in business skills, genealogy, computer basics, and more. Special sessions called Winning Wednesdays focus on resources for small business owners and non-profits. Classes are available for all ages, including specific classes tailored to seniors, classes presented in Spanish, and classes made accessible to those with disabilities. All of this is presented at no charge for library patrons and can be accessed through the library website or by visiting www.ForsythComputerTraining.org.
- Interlibrary Loan and Courier Service
Have you ever set off for the library hoping to find a specific book, only to find out it was not there? With Interlibrary Loan and the Cardinal Library system’s courier service, you can borrow books from thousands of other libraries. The Interlibrary Loan program brings in books from outside the local library system, opening the door to materials nationwide. Libraries within the Cardinal system will even extend this service to include audiobooks and DVDs. You can place books on hold through your online account or ask a librarian for assistance. You will then be notified by text, phone, or email when your book arrives at the library you have chosen as your pickup location.
- E-books and Audiobooks
If you have a long commute, or just like to read anytime, anywhere, you might want to take advantage of the treasure trove of e-books, magazines, audiobooks, and even videos available through the online library collection. Using apps like Libby, OverDrive, and RBdigital, cardholders have access to hundreds of titles that can be borrowed and downloaded right to your personal e-reading device. If you devour books and are tired of digital purchases devouring your bank account, you will love the NC Digital Library. All you need is your library card number, and a PIN that your local librarian can help you set up the first time you log in.
- Book Clubs
Book clubs are not a thing of the past. They are alive and well and happening at your local library. Book clubs help you connect with other readers who share your love of fantasy, romance, true crime, mystery, or reading in general! Each participant is given a copy of the book to borrow. The club is moderated by a local librarian and meets virtually via zoom to connect and discuss. Whether your goal is to broaden your horizons, make new friends, or simply talk about books, you will be glad you participated. Book clubs are available for teens and adults of all ages and vary in genre. Registration is required, and you can sign up at your local library or by following the link on the library home page.
Don’t let the winter doldrums get you down, visit your local library either in person or virtually and open the door to something new! Paddison Memorial Library is located in Kernersville at 248 Harmon Lane or visit them online at www.forsyth.cc/library/Kernersville.