What's at the Library? - Resources


Many valuable resources are available at the library, such as books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, games, computers, Internet access, microfilm, maps and more.

These days libraries are finding new and innovative ways to extend their collections to better serve their communities. The Pima (Ariz.) County Library has a seed-lending library and you can check out tools for that home improvement project at the Oakland (Calif.) Public Library's Temescal Tool Lending Library.

You might even be able to check out a cake pan for that special occasion. Dozens of libraries in Kansas have cake pans collections.


Libraries carry many categories of books such as fiction, nonfiction and reference. But some also carry special collections of rare books, manuscripts and maps. The Library of Congress, for example, has a collection of 800,000 rare books and special collections that date back to the 15th Century. Collections like this are valuable resources that offer a glimpse into the minds of early American explorers, cultural figures and politicians.


76 percent of libraries offer e-books, up from 38 percent in 2007.  Thirty-nine percent of libraries offer e-readers for check-out!


Magazine collections can be found in most libraries. These collections cover many topics ranging from business to lifestyle. For those seeking a fun read, your library may offer Allure or Sports Illustrated. For foodies who enjoy cooking, magazine titles such as Cooking Light may be available.

Kids can flip through the glossy pages of Ranger Rick, while older adults can browse the latest issue of Seniority. From new parents to dog lovers, many libraries carry magazines that cater to your interest.


Save money and cut down on errand time by picking up your weekend movie at your local library. The library near you may carry an assortment of DVDs for entertainment and education.

Bond with your children while watching blockbusters like Iron Man. Pick up that documentary you have been meaning to watch. Whether you want informative films such as Equality: A History of the Women’s Movement in America, or foreign films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, libraries are a great place to look for them.


Assorted genres of music can be found at libraries, from the latest album by Taylor Swift to Broadway hits. Many libraries offer eclectic music collections that span much of music’s history. Find out more about your local library’s music collection by visiting one near you.

Reference Librarians

Reference librarians not only know the library like the palm of their hands, they also have a wide knowledge of authors, technology and more. If you need help finding a book or category, or want a book recommendation, ask a readers advisory librarian.

Computers/Printers/ Copiers

If you don’t have a computer, copier or printer at home, you may be able to access these technologies at your local library. Whether you want to print out a grocery list, send an e-mail or print out documents, libraries may have the resources to help.


Most libraries offer free Internet access. You can use your local library’s Internet to job hunt on sites such as CareerBuilder or Craigslist, check music venues or find show times for movies. The Internet is a great resource for finding information for school or business projects. If you don’t have an Internet connection at home, take advantage of this resource at a library near you.

Study Rooms

Finding quiet time for work or school can be difficult. But it’s possible. Many libraries—public, academic or otherwise—offer study rooms where you can find the quiet space you need to get things done.


Libraries offer a number of programs for their communities. These programs aim to foster cultural understanding and encourage participation from the community. Programs offered at libraries may vary. For example, Chicago’s Harold Washington Library hosts English as a Second Language (ESL) programs the first Monday of every month, while the Seattle Public Library offers its ESL program every first Tuesday of the month. Other programs that libraries may offer include story time for toddlers, arts and crafts workshops, and computer workshops.

Special Events

Don’t forget about monthly concerts and exhibitions that some libraries offer! The Monthly Family Story Night at the Bellingham (Wash.) Public Library offers readings with the Bellingham Storytellers Guild. The Kalamazoo Public Library in Michigan offers regular concerts through its Live Music concert series. Learn about the special events that libraries offer by visiting one near you.