Amazing Libraries in All 50 States
Perhaps nowhere do consumers get more for free than the local library. Wi-Fi and computer access, books, magazines, movies, and music are just the start.
Many branches offer classes on everything from art to technology, as well as lectures, concerts, movie screenings, game nights, tax help, nutrition and cooking programs, and more for free or a nominal fee. While children's areas and story time are library traditions, teen-only spaces and programs have become another must. Lately it's hard to find a good library without a "maker space" for sewing, sawing, or producing parts with a 3D printer, not to mention reading, meeting, and study rooms. Common free digital resources include Hoopla, Freegal for music, Freading and OverDrive for ebooks, OneClickDigital for audiobooks, Zinio for magazines, and TumbleBooks for children's music and games. At many libraries, members can check out passes for free or greatly reduced admission to area museums and other cultural attractions.
These 50 libraries across the country boast even more amenities. Non-residents can partake at most libraries for a small yearly fee.
The Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center in Little Rock is enough to make an adult envious. The 30,000-square-foot space includes a computer lab, a large teaching kitchen, and a 165-seat theater, as well as more than 21,000 items geared toward preschool, elementary, and middle-school students. The library hosts magic shows, jazz concerts, gardening, crafts, after-school and adventure clubs, and yoga.
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The redesigned Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library opened in 2002, a $23 million expansion and renovation that made room for more than 500,000 books, as well as a café and used bookstore. Services include free computer training, homework help, career assistance, and a bookmobile. The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery features traveling exhibits and free art classes. May through October, there's a Monday farmers market in the parking lot.
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