LifeHacker is one of my favorite daily reads. I always find something useful, something helpful through their posts. This one, covering ways to “Get the most of your local library — online” was nice enough to share.
Imagine a collection of music, movies, and books you can access for free with the help of the Internet. What if you could share it all with your friends and neighbors? No, I’m not referring to BitTorrent or Napster; I’m talking about your local library. Not only are most card catalogs available online, but you can often reserve and renew materials, access online databases, ask reference questions, and more—all without leaving your computer.
Included in the post:
- Membership Has Its Privileges
Libraries usually restrict access to some services to card holders. If you don’t already have a card, track down the nearest library online.
- More Than Just Books
In addition to books, many libraries loan movies, music, audio books and more. Though they may not have the latest BillBoard Top 40 or box office blockbusters, you will likely find many of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time or IMDb’s Top 250 movies. If you’re lucky, your library might even loan audio books on iPods. Many libraries also provide access to reference databases and other resources online.
- Information at Your Fingertips
Most library catalog systems lack the bells and whistles of ecommerce sites like Amazon.com. To get the best of both worlds, the LibraryLookup Project provides a bookmarklet generator.
- Reference Librarians Are Standing By
When searching for answers, don’t give up hope if Google lets you down. Instead, turn to your friendly reference librarian.
- They May Not Have It, But They Can Get It
Chances are that your library doesn’t stock every book you might ever want to read. Just because they don’t own it, doesn’t mean they can’t get it for you. Library patrons can access the collections of other libraries through interlibrary loan.
I particularly like this point:
Lastly, be sure to ask what you can do to help your library. By donating money, time, or used books, you can help to ensure that the library will continue to be there when you need it.