The library is a wonderful community resource for people of all ages. When you walk into your local center, you will see kids picking up their first books ever, adults learning from local periodicals, and people of all ages using the internet and other digital resources. 

While the library is a great place to check out books, modern institutions offer so much more. Families can spend entire days at their local library, taking advantage of its programs and deciding which forms of media to take home with them. 

Use this guide to make the most of your local library – you might be surprised how it can help you. 

Check out E-Books and Audiobooks

A view of the shelves in your local library.

Image via Pixabay by jarmoluk

When most people picture libraries, they see rows of books of all genres. If you are eager to check out a book, you will run to the library to see if it’s available or go on a waiting list for when it returns. However, modern libraries have gone digital — and the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma City is no different. 

Check out their website to see what e-Books and audiobooks are available. There are more than 250,000 e-Book titles available to borrow, and you don’t have to wait for a book to become free! You can also browse through these books from home and download them onto your device. Book rentals expire after 21 days, though some of the more popular titles might expire after seven days.  

The library also has a wide collection of audiobooks that expire in seven to 14 days and use apps like Odilo, OverDrive, Kanopy, and Freading. Additionally, the MLS lets you check out movies, music, comics, and TV shows through Hoopla. Whatever media you want, your library can help you find it.

Attend Events for All Ages    

Over the years, local libraries have become learning hubs, where people can develop new skills and meet with others in the community with similar interests and hobbies. This is no different in Oklahoma City. There are countless classes, clubs, and meetups within the local library system that are meant for people of all ages. 

Start with the MLS Upcoming Events page. You can get a general overview of the upcoming events and sort through the clubs and activities by date. To filter the events and find the ones you are most likely to attend, click the appropriate age range that you are looking for (these start with birth-Pre-K and work up through kids, teens, and adults), then select the nearby libraries. Finally, you can even sort by category, like classes, book clubs, and cultural experiences. 

Note: the MLS library system is still following COVID-19 safety guidelines. While it still has events and activities, most of them are “grab and go,” for families and adults. For example, you can grab a yarn butterfly craft kit and share your creations with other library fans on social media. These classes help parents come up with creative ideas to entertain kids that are also educational.   

Learn the Basics of Modern Technology

Tech basics are essential in this increasingly digital world. Not only are web-based tools and apps used socially (like sharing photos of family members and fun memes), but employers increasingly expect candidates to fill out applications online and respond to messages via email. 

The library has become a key source in helping residents get caught up on the basics of technology. There are technology classes that cover various topics that are relevant to modern Americans, or you can schedule a one-on-one session with staff to go through the problems that you have and how to solve them. 

Recently, the library has started offering remote and online technology help for residents who want to use tools like Zoom to communicate during the pandemic. They can help you catch up and feel confident about using modern technology.  

Build a Business With “Grow With Google”

If you have an entrepreneurial idea but lack the resources and know-how to get your idea off the ground, the library can help you. Since 2018, the Metropolitan Library System has been part of the Grow With Google program, which allows residents to check out mobile hot spots and Chromebooks for use at home. Along with these tools, Google provides access to its skills-building seminars and classes for adults. A few of the topics in these classes include improved English speaking, online job seeking, and digital training. 

Grow with Google services are offered at six local libraries within the MLS. Check to see if your nearby library is participating or where the closest available one is.   

Hold Meetings of Your Own in The Library

During non-pandemic times, the local library is a hot spot for local nonprofits, volunteer organizations, and community clubs to meet. If you need a space for a group that can help the community, check out your local library. Each library has its own unique number of rooms and conference rooms. They vary in size and purpose. For example, you might only need a conference room for about 10 people or want an auditorium that seats more than 100. 

Make sure you book your library room in advance because these spaces are known to fill up quickly. You can also call your local center and ask if they have AV equipment (like a projector and sound system) for the convenience of your attendees. There are some rules with checking out a library room (like the available times and who can use the space), so be sure to review these before you start advertising the final location. 

Your local library is constantly innovating to make sure it offers the best programs, media, and opportunities for local residents. This resource is always available to you thanks to your friends at Crème de la Crème of Oklahoma City.