By: Valentina Harris
As a paralegal who has helped leverage my skills by consuming as much information as possible in the form of legal podcasts and publications, I am very appreciative of the free education and entertainment that remains available at local libraries. This awesome resource goes underutilized because most aren’t aware of what libraries offer the public. Here on Black Girl Wisdom, we will show you that libraries are a lot more than just free Wi-Fi and rented books.
Here are some benefits to taking advantage of of your local library!
When I first started my paralegal firm, Paralegal Power in 2010, I built my own website. Building the websit wasn’t difficult, but getting my young kids to allow me to finish my project was. I started taking them to the library, so they would be busy and I could work on my website there. It was perfect. Not only did the kids understand that it was a place to be quiet, but they were so entertained the entire time we were there, they rarely disrupted my work!
Early Childhood & Adult Education
Youngsters can play games on the computer for an hour free of charge! There was often a presentation for the kids scheduled at least a couple of times a week as well. And then, of course – the books. It got them excited about reading again and there are usually free incentives the libraries reward the kids with to read. They also offer a wealth of adult education on such important topics as taxes, small business development, English as a second language, basic computer skills and naturally – literacy.
Can’t Find It On Netflix?
The library has an amazing DVD collection that you can rent from, for free of course. Wait… you don’t have a DVD player? Of course not, who does anymore? Don’t worry, more than likely, your library is hip to the game. Most libraries offer some type of streaming service, with limits such as no more than six titles can be downloaded over the course of a month. Can’t forget about the free downloads right? They offer a great selection of eBooks and music that one could take advantage of.
Never Pay For Subscriptions Again
The library is still the best place to read all of your favorite magazines and newspapers too. Most of which you can access online. Did the New York Times just remind you that you have hit your limit of free articles for the month? No problem, just use your library card to access the publication for free.
Most libraries offer some sort of a pass to either a local museum or park. Omaha’s Public Library offers free passes to Fontenelle Forest. A New York City library card will get you into about 32 different museums in the New York area.
Cheap Office Space
Do you need a meeting room? The library rents out small office and meeting rooms for short durations of time such as an hour or two. Volunteer boards in need of meeting space or young entrepreneurs can take advantage of this service.
A True Professional’s Advantage
Libraries have proven to be one of my most valuable resources as a legal professional. There was a time when I would have had to been born very wealthy, or white, or male to be able to access the information that is now available to me as a member of my local library. But it’s not just my local library that I can access. There are a multitude of legal libraries that I have been able to use to help hone my paralegal skills. Whatever your passion or area of expertise is, you will be able to use your library card to improve your knowledge.
Research & Referencing Assistance
Especially if you are in need of research or reference assistance. There is no better place to start. Your local librarian is very well educated and usually lives to help you with your projects. Now that you know how valuable this free service is, remember knowledge is not free – you have to pay attention!