8 Library Hotspots You Might Be Missing

A library is just a big, quiet, stuffy place filled with books, right? Maybe you think going to the library is passé in this digital age. You might be surprised to learn of all the great things your local library has to offer that you have been missing out on. Check out this list of eight library hotspots and see if they are available in your area.

1. Juvenile Nonfiction


Unless your library is extremely small, there are probably sections that you have never visited. One such section that is often overlooked is the juvenile non-fiction section. Frequently, this section is separated from the picture book area—where children tend to gravitate—but it is a fascinating area where your kids can learn about horses, biology, world culture, geography, etc.

Instead of heading to the internet when your child has to do a report for school, find applicable books in the children’s nonfiction section. Kids obsessed with Jurassic Park movies? Check out dinosaur books and your kids can learn more than you know about dinosaurs with scientific blurbs, pictures and size comparisons.

2. Audiobooks


Obviously, you know that a library carries books. You’ve probably also found the DVD sections for kids and adults. It’s highly likely, though, that your library also has audiobooks that you can borrow, either in the library or online. Listen while you work, in traffic, or while taking a leisurely bath (a mom can dream, right?).

3. Hold Shelf


Why scour library shelves when you can request an item, and then look for your name on the spine at the Hold Shelf? Request the hold at your library’s online catalog, and all you have to do is walk in, pick up your books, check-out, and walk out. Easy peasy.

Some libraries have the most incredible convenience: a drive through window. No need to disturb that sleeping baby while you pick up your holds! Count yourself lucky if this convenience is available to you.

4. Inter-Library Loans


If your library doesn’t have a book you want, there is probably a library nearby that does. Nearly all libraries participate in a regional inter-library loan system, whereby patrons can request books through their “home” library from other copies available elsewhere. This request can be done at your library check-out counter or online through a link on your library’s website.

When the book arrives,  it will be available on the holds’ shelf or at the librarian counter. While these books may take several days or weeks before they arrive in your hands, it’s a great way to get more out of your library. Just be sure you understand the terms and due dates for inter-library loans as they may differ from normal library policy.

Note: Usually, inter-library loans can only be done for books that are at least six to twelve months old.

5. E-Borrowing


In this digital age, libraries are doing their best to keep up. Many libraries have partnered with digital book and audio book libraries for “e-borrowing.” Usually, this requires registering with a third party that has contracted with your library to make these e-books available for borrowing. And, you will also probably need to install an app on your desired reading device—be it computer, tablet, or smartphone—that will enable your to read the books through the third-party application.

Now you don’t even have to leave your home to take advantage of your library. Just a few clicks and you can be reading or listening to borrowed materials!

6. Summer and Year-Round Programs


You are probably familiar with your library’s school-year or year-round storytime for children and its summer reading program. Libraries often have other programs geared for grade-schoolers. A library may show movies and provide popcorn, or it might bring in magicians or other entertainment. Maybe there’s a teen anime club, a “ready for kindergarten” program for 5-year-olds, or a “Read to Rover” program where nervous readers can read to trained/therapy dogs.

Library programs aren’t limited to kids, though. A Toastmasters club might meet there, or the library might host informal art showings or science events, or even have technology classes for adults (and children). Grab a flyer while you are at the library, or find the library’s calendar on their website.

7. Study Rooms


Need a quieter place to “work-at-home” than your actual home? Use a study room available at the library. You can schedule its use in advance, or just show up and use what’s available. You might also be able to schedule a meeting room and meet business associates and clients at the library instead of in your toy and goldfish littered living room.

8. Nearby Libraries


Did you know that you can access other libraries instead of just your local library? While some cities have more than one library in them, other cities often make reciprocal agreements for patrons of each library to visit and check out books from the other. You may find that the library twenty minutes away—rather than five minutes from your house—meets your needs better and is worth the extra drive.

No reciprocal arrangements with your library? Don’t despair! Frequently, libraries will allow you to patron the library for a yearly fee.


If you are going to make the most of these library hotspots, make sure you visit the library regularly and often. Dig through your weekly schedule and carve out some time—just 30 minutes a week can be all you need to find every hotspot at YOUR local library. (Visiting the library regularly also makes it much easier to avoid those overdue fees!)

Want to learn more about taking advantage of your local library?
Read 6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Library Visit.

Photo Credit: The Leeds Library by Michael D Beckwith (CC BY 2.0), Children’s Books by LydiaLiu (CC BY 2.0), 08.28.10 by Lori L. Stalteri (CC BY 2.0), Call Numbers on Books, Library Books, Fahrenheit 451 and 1405_CCACCeramicsShow_18 by CCAC North Library (CC BY 2.0), Books – IMG_3747 by Nicola (CC BY 2.0), Los Angeles Central Library by Karen (CC BY 2.0)

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Stefani

Stefani was raised in California; with her husband hailing from South Carolina, they've settled in the middle and are now raising three Texans. She loves classical homeschooling, great books, period dramas, modifying recipes, simple living, deep thinking, and cuddling up with her family to watch silly YouTube videos.

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