A public library is truly an amazing place. Sometimes we need a reminder that it is more than books! Our local libraries host awesome events for all ages, including arts and crafts, computer coding lessons, holiday gatherings, career workshops, senior get-togethers, and tax assistance.
Finding library-hosted activities and services is as easy as just logging on to your local library’s website and reviewing the calendar of events. Opportunity is abundant for the whole family.
As you scroll through your Westchester County library websites, you’ll notice that many offer the following:
- Access to computers, printing, copying, and scanning. Mobile printer options are available too – print from home and pick up your copies at the library.
- Complimentary or discount passes to local museums and venues in Westchester and New York City, including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, The Guggenheim, and The Intrepid.
- Room rental for meetings and events.
- Reserve a study room.
- Amazing research resources, such as LinkedIn Learning, ancestory.com, and tutor.com.
- Free Notary public services.
- Education & Exam Preparation and College Planning resources.
- Borrow a Kindle; borrow an instrument (even a ukulele!); borrow a craft kit to learn knitting, crochet, or beading—a great opportunity to see if you are interested in a craft before investing.
- Movie showings.
- Loaning of The Empire Pass admits one vehicle entrance fee to most New York State Parks, Department of Environmental Conversation Facilities, and campgrounds across New York State.
While most of the county libraries hold impressive events and provide vast services, a few stand out.
- A full calendar of events for adults, teens, and children, including art exhibitions, movies, meal planning, and financial aid seminars.
- Substantial foreign language collection is available on the shelves. Additionally, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish CDs are available to help you learn a new language.
- Stop by daily to pick up the latest crossword puzzle.
- Full range of great programs for kids, including Lego Clubs, Jr. Garden Club, and Courtyard Storytime in nice weather.
- Their website has a great section dedicated to parent resources, such as links to local nursery schools and child care centers, book lists, and apps for children.
- Clubs specifically for teens – gardening, chess, and Chinese conversations.
- A link to edX offering free online courses from the world’s best universities.
- The Learning Center has a vast assortment of resources on how we learn and specific education topics like ADHD, sensory issues, autism, gifted and talented, executive functioning, and social skills.
- Substantial programming and resources for adults, seniors, and their families. This includes programs and services to connect, enhance and engage elders with the community—for example, book clubs and poetry, and even classes and information on Medicare.
- Nature buffs of all ages can borrow Mr. Lunetta’s Explorer Bags. In partnership with Central Westchester Audubon and the Bronx River Sound Shore Audubon, you can borrow a bag with binoculars, magnifiers, tree and bird ID cards, bug boxes, pencils, and notepads.
- Art exhibits and photo contest contents are on display throughout the library.
- The Young Adult (YA) Room is a place for teens to gather to study, play games, and connect with others in the community.
- Organized and consistent events specifically for the YA crowd like cooking, creative writing, and game tournaments.
- The Children’s Room has anything and everything from picture books to intro chapter books, graphic novels, and audiobooks. Blocks and games onsite allow for age-appropriate exploration and sensory activities.
- Also, please don’t forget to visit Tina, the library’s 25-year-old turtle!
- “Read to our Canine friend, Callie!” is a special weekly event for kids 4 to 8. Children practice reading to a dog by the Good Dog Foundation. The dog is always accompanied by its owner.
- Various opportunities for hands-on fun and exploration with animals: “Read to Rover,” where children read to a dog; Visitors from the Maritime Aquarium come onsite with live crabs and mollusks; Turtles, snakes, frogs, and other animals from the Animal Embassy.
- Crafts every Tuesday and Thursday, like making jewelry making and origami. Crafting is helpful for sensory issues as they are exposed to various materials – fleece, bubble wrap, felt, pipe cleaners, etc. The library tends to tie the timing of their craft classes with holidays and seasons.
- Adult events like mahjong, pilates, meditation, crafts, and a weekly Brown Bag Book Discussion Group.
- Storytime and music classes for children on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings.
- New Rochelle Library’s Huguenot Children’s Library is designed just for children with many juvenile print and non-print resources and even child-sized furniture. In addition to the regular calendar of activities throughout the year, they offer preschool programs, vacation and summer programs, and “Summer Fun” on the patio.
- Homebound Delivery Services are available for those who cannot get to the library. Library staff members deliver books and audiobooks door-to-door.
- Their Social Services area offers help with everyday life challenges. Sometimes you need to be pointed in the right direction, and this team can assist. For example, healthcare navigators can guide you through the system. Librarians can connect you with representatives of professional organizations, provide resources for your job search, and obtain legal advice and information on how to start a business. Walk-in assistance is available daily.
- A variety of programs in Spanish, including Spanish Conversation for Beginners for both adults and children, English as a second language practice, and a Spanish book club.
- Weekly New Parent and Infant Support Group: Co-facilitated by Katherine Whiteside, a Postpartum Doula, and Dr. Rachel Lemonik, a Clinical Psychologist, these virtual meet-up sessions are no-cost meetings for new and expectant parents who are seeking professional advice, peer companionship, and kind support.
The Westchester Library System (WLS)
We are lucky enough to have our libraries under the Westchester Library System (WLS) here in Westchester County. WLS collaborates with the county libraries to provide centralized services to the county library system. The WLS is now available as an app for your tablet or smartphone.
Your library card is your entryway into the WLS. Scroll around to access five free downloads a week; admission to Driving-Tests.org for free New York State Driver Permit practice tests and driver handbooks; and websites to Learn English, Get Your GED, and Basic Computer Tips.
A Win for the Community
It’s great when the community comes together. Libraries are central to our community. Simply said, libraries do not get the credit they deserve! Whether you wander through the library in person or online, you will be exposed to a wealth of information, literally all right at our fingertips.