Saturday (4th Feb) was National Library Day in the UK. As an ex-library assistant they have a big place in my heart so I wanted to share a number of ways you can make the most out of these fab places. 

Become a borrower

Signing up to your local library is free. In many places you can take out up to 14 items, this includes books (both fiction and non-fiction), CDs and DVDs. Some libraries even stock computer games. It saves on waste (good for the environment), you can get a variety of items without paying through the nose for them and there’s more choice than you could ever fit on your bookcase.

You can renew items online, which people often forget, so really there’s no excuse for running up a fine.

Top tip: Set a reminder on your phone so you know when they’re due back.

Reserve a book

If what you want to borrow isn’t on the shelves most libraries can either order it in from another library or try and get hold of it for you. They have their ways…

Top tip: Check out the website to see which libraries stock your book.

Use the internet

You can also book time on the computers, which includes internet use. If you’re moving house or haven’t got money to spare this is perfect. Just get in fast, sometimes the computers are booked up days in advance!

It’s also great for research. If you need to work on a document and you can’t take out all the research material you need at once, then use the libraries computers.

Top tip: If you have your own laptop, libraries often have Wi-Fi connections.

Don’t use the internet

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all and just read a book or a newspaper. Libraries are that special quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the online world where you can sink into an armchair and read. See what time your local library is open until and check it out in the evening.

Top tip: Find a chair away from the kids area!

Ask a question

If you’ve got a dilema or a question that’s gone un-answered, the best person to ask about it is a librarian. They know loads, and many specialise in particular topics. Imagine Yoda, but not green.

Top tip: Don’t refer to Wikipedia all the time, use a real Encyclopaedia.

Five other things to do:

  • Research your family history
  • Join a reading group
  • Find a new favourite author
  • Scan/print off documents
  • Find local information
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