Friday, September 16, 2016

Library Matters

I've always taken it for granted that, of course, everyone has a library card. Why wouldn't you? As it turns out, however, only about a third of the residents of Waterbury have a library card, and more than half of those cards are expired.

In the past year, people have told me they don't use the library because their kids are all grown up, or because they think there's nothing for them at the library. In fact, there is something for everyone at the Silas Bronson Library. Take a look at this list, and I think you'll see something that appeals to you:

Books: Everyone knows the library has books, but did you know that you can order books from libraries around the country and have them delivered to the library in Waterbury? If there's a book you need and you can't find it anywhere (or it's too expensive to purchase), just ask one of the librarians to track it down at another library for you.

Movies: You can borrow DVDs from the library. VHS too, if you prefer.

Music: The library has CDs you can borrow. Current chart-toppers as well as old favorites.

Video Games: The library has a selection of family-friendly PS2 and Nintendo DS games available.

Museum Passes: You can borrow or print from home dozens of free or reduced price admission passes to museums, zoos, and parks using your library card.

Free Internet Access: There are dozens of desktop computers at the library; black & white printing is available at 15 cents per page. There's also free Wi-Fi throughout the building.

Microfilm: Looking for an old newspaper article? Waterbury's newspapers, going back to the 1800s, are all on microfilm at the library.

eBooks: Whether you have a Kindle or an iPad, the library has eBooks you can download to your device.

Audiobooks: You can borrow a book on tape or CD, or you can download audiobooks directly to your device.

Streaming Video: InstantFlix offers thousands of classic TV shows, film festival winners, documentaries, and cult classic movies.

Automotive & Engine Repair Databases: The Auto Repair Reference Center has repair information, recall notices, diagrams, and diagnostic information for half a century's worth of automobiles; the Small Engine Repair Reference Center includes information for motorcycles, generators, lawn mowers, and other small engines.

Job Skills and Business Development: Whether you want to improve your job skills, grow your business, or embrace your creativity, has the video tutorials and learning paths to help. Learn how to use popular software programs, skills, and social media sites. Small business owner? Entrepreneur looking to start a new business? The Small Business Reference Center has the resources you need to make your business a success.

Online Encyclopedia: World Book is now an online resource, and you library card gives you access.

Newspapers and Magazines: With Newsbank, you can search for articles in the Rep-Am newspaper going back to 2004 and 27 different national magazines going back to 1994.

State Library Databases: Your public library card also gives you access to the State Library's online resources, which include newspapers, magazines, journals, and genealogy resources.

Cultural Programs: The library hosts regular educational and entertaining programs, from concerts to chess club.

The best part: It's all free with a library card, and getting a library card is free. That's right, free.

If you want to look at it another way, you've already paid for it. Most of the Silas Bronson Library's operating costs are paid for by the City of Waterbury. Half of one percent of your municipal property taxes goes toward supporting the library's operations. So why wait? Bring a photo ID and a second document with your current Waterbury address to the Silas Bronson Library and get yourself a library card--the most powerful card in your wallet!

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