Eight Reasons Why the Chicago Public Library Card is Priceless

Of all the items I carry in my wallet, my Chicago public library card is the second most valuable — next to my driver’s license. Not only is the little green and white card the key to a world of possibilities; it is totally priceless. Let me tell you why.

1.Library cards are FREE. There are no fees, charges or taxes for owning the card. Just complete an application and provide proof of identity, a current address and Chicago residency.

2.Obtain a FREE education via books, periodicals, movies, museum passes, and other special perks offered by individual libraries. There is one main library, 76 neighborhood branches, and three regional facilities in the Chicago library system. Books can also be borrowed from suburban libraries according to the reciprocity policy. Therefore, this free education is very easy to obtain.

3.Accounts can be accessed online 24/7 with a valid library card for FREE. Records will show how many books that are checked out; when they are due; and any other information that is relevant to individual accounts.

4.Conduct research from home for FREE. Periodicals and other reference materials used for research can be found on the library’s website 24/7. There are only a couple resources that can only be found on the library databases; otherwise, all other research can be conducted remotely.

5.FREE Internet and WiFi are available at all libraries. Library cards are required for internet access; WiFi can be accessed through individual computers.

6.Gain FREE entry into most of Chicago museums with museum passes. Passes can be checked out for up to seven days. Although they do not allow entry into the extra attractions at museums, patrons can walk in for no charge.

7.After searching for books online, patrons can request to have books sent to the ANY library of their choice for FREE. Books can be delivered to a branch close to home or not.

8.Other benefits include FREE author discussions, exhibits and programs for individuals of all ages.

Although the library system offers lots of free stuff, patrons do have to pay late fees and any charges accrued for items checked out if a library card is lost or stolen. Fines range from $.20 a day for books and music up to $2 a day for movies and museum passes. Fortunately, there are maximum fines per item. Patrons won’t go broke unless they have a lot of items borrowed.

Essentially, getting a FREE library card; access to a FREE education via books, movies, and museum passes; and FREE computer access, WiFI and online research are totally priceless.

Free Childrens Storytime at Various Boulder Public Library Locations

Enjoy books, songs and more at weekly storytimes for all ages at the Boulder Public Library’s very own Storytime for Kids weekly events! It’s a great way to get your children excited about learning and reading in an environment with all of the resources to help! In the children’s section of the bottom floor of BPL your kids can enjoy a 45 minute reading and then explore all kinds of books that they can take home with them. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times during the storytelling event.

The Boulder Public Library and all of its branches hold weekly childrens storytime for you and your kiddos. They are completely free and seriously fun. On almost every day of the week you can take your child to a session and have a good time in a safe and learning-focused environment. There are a variety of storytellers who read from many interesting children’s books. These people are seriously talented, speaking in silly voices and acting out the plot with animated expressions and movements. As stated above, you need to be with your child at all times.

The Main Boulder Public Library Branch

At the Main Branch of the Boulder Public Library, you can take your kids on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays every week. The event starts at 10:15am and ends at 11:00am. Here’s the address information: 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO, 40.014008,-105.281557. Once you enter the library, the children’s section is on the 1st floor. The area where the storytelling magic happens is near the large northern windows.

Other Boulder Public Library Branches

The Meadows Branch Library has their childrens storytime event every Wednesday at 10:15am to 11:00am. Here’s how to get there: 4800 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO 80303, 39.997506,-105.23435

The George Reynolds Library holds their childrens storytime event on Tuesdays at 10:15am to 11:00am weekly. The George Reynolds Library’s address is: 3595 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305, 39.984404,-105.252804.

Spanish and English Storytime

Kay Negash, a nationally recognized storyteller and recording artist, has an event where she reads childrens stories in both English and Spanish to accompany multiple audiences of children and parents. On the first Saturday of every month you and your child or children can come to the Boulder Public Library’s Marcelee Gralapp Children’s Library to partake in this lovely learning process. All ages are welcome and the bilingual storytime event starts at 10:15am and ends at 11:00 am. You can contact the Marcelee Gralapp Children’s Library at 303-441-3099 and you can email them at [email protected] or [email protected].

The Public Library – Are Public Libraries Still Relevant?

The internet has competition. There is another, long neglected source of information available. Like the World Wide Web, it’s mostly free and is an excellent source of entertainment and research, but it’s been around much longer than any website.

It had been far too long since I’d set foot in my local library. I’d simply lost the habit. Life, as they say, had got in the way. It’s one of those things that you don’t do unless you make a special effort. So I made that special effort, and I’m extremely glad that I did.

The slightly stuffy atmosphere that I remembered from my youth was gone, replaced by a helpful, friendly ambience. The dark wood shelves and heavy velvet drapes had been replaced too, by a light welcome airiness. Most delightfully, I felt a return of the sense of wonder that visits to the library had always conjured up in my youth. The endless possibilities held within each book was still there, but now they had been joined by computer terminals and data discs which, just like their paper cousins, were filled with everything that an inquisitive mind might desire. The adventure, the horror, the learning of the ages and so much more were still there to be rediscovered by each generation just as I had done all those years ago. More information than any one person could ever hope to learn was held within this building, a living and growing thing available to anyone prepared to make the smallest of efforts.

I was taken aback by the number of different uses that the building has been given over to. Yes, it was predominantly a lending library, but was also an art gallery and a coffee shop. It was a community centre with the obligatory notice board advertising everything from poetry readings and writing classes to jazz and dance festivals. There was even gentle soothing music being piped in from somewhere, though never loud enough to be obtrusive.

The variety of people in the place was impressive too. Middle-aged couples researching their family history, ladies in colourful robes testing their English on each other, families looking for a film to go with a pizza later and old men simply passing the time until the next bus home; all were here, and yet nobody seemed out of place. Like a multi-faith church the public library welcomed all, no questions asked, but with answers for everyone. In my absence it had become the Public’s Library.

So the next time I have research questions, or feel like giving some new music a try, or simply fancy reading some escapist fantasy, perhaps I should turn the laptop off. Maybe it’s time to rediscover my local library.

(c) Shaun Finnie 2011