Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of Free Library of Philadelphia via Facebook.

By Kalena Thomhave

May 20, 2024

Grab your library card and head to one of the best parts of living in Philly: The Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the best urban library systems in the country. And you don’t even need to be a Philly resident to take advantage of all the library has to offer. Any Pennsylvania resident can obtain a Free Library card and enjoy learning opportunities, free entertainment, kids’ programs, and more.

While you may not need a library card to participate in some of these activities, getting one will certainly expand your engagement with the library and all the amenities it has to offer.

Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of R. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia.

Business Resource and Innovation Center

Have a great business idea, but don’t know where to start? The folks at the library can help!

The Free Library of Philadelphia is home to the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC), a resource center for nonprofits, businesses, and budding entrepreneurs. Librarians can support your endeavors with individualized support or you can participate in a number of networking events, learning programs, job fairs, career workshops, and other helpful offerings. For example, next month BRIC is hosting resume review sessions at the Parkway Center Library.

Culinary Literacy Center

The Free Library is tackling literacy in a creative — and tasty — way with its Culinary Literacy Center. The Parkway Center Library has a kitchen classroom in which elementary school students can learn how to make tasty meals or English-language learners can cook while they practice English together.

Other libraries in the system also offer culinary programming like cooking demonstrations, chats with local chefs, or discussions about food and culture. This summer, many libraries are working with community members to put together their own community cookbooks!

Check out the Culinary Literacy Center’s upcoming events to see if anything looks appetizing.

Children’s activities

The Free Library of Philadelphia shines with its programming and activities for kids. During the school year, the library supports student learning with homework help for students of all grade levels. And during the summer, the library is a kid’s source for an engaging and fun summer reading program!

Both younger children and teens can participate in the summer fun — this summer’s program theme is “Summer of Wonder.” During the summer, kids and teens can win prizes for completing reading challenges. Plus, throughout the year, the library puts on great events for youth, like teen karaoke, chess clubs, video game hangouts, art classes, and of course, storytimes.

Search by age group on the library’s calendar of events to get a full picture of how your kids can engage with the library!

Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Photo courtesy Brittany Lynn/Visit Philadelphia.

Programs and classes

In addition to culinary and business programming, the library system holds a slew of other events and classes. For instance, you can take classes to level up your foreign language skills or workshops to improve your computer literacy. There is also programming that’s just plain fun, like book clubs, crafting meet ups, and yoga.

Check out the calendar of events to see more and browse events at the library nearest you.

Help from social workers

The library employs social workers to make it easy for city residents to get connected to community services or government agencies. Stop by the open office hours or give the social worker team a phone call to get your questions answered.

Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of Free Library of Philadelphia via Facebook.

Printing and scanning services

Goodbye, FedEx. You can print and scan documents for free at the library’s “hot spot” at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries. Plus, the hot spot has staff available to help you with your computer needs or questions.

Printing services are also available at other libraries (though they may not always be free).

Interlibrary loan

Is there a book you’re itching to read, but the library doesn’t have it? That’s OK, because the library can get it for you!

By utilizing interlibrary loan, you can rent a book from any other U.S. library: The librarians in Philly will essentially borrow the book for you from another library. This means that you can check out pretty much any book!

Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of J. Smith/Visit Philadelphia.

Rent e-books, audiobooks, TV shows, and movies

You don’t need Netflix to watch movies and TV, because you can rent them for free from the library! And in addition to physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks. The Free Library of Philadelphia has thousands of these digital items available. And of course, you don’t need to travel to the library to check digital items out!

Database access

The library purchases subscriptions from all sorts of publications for the express benefit of their patrons. With your library card, you can access magazines like Philadelphia Magazine, newspapers like The New York Times, academic journals, and more — all for free. Check out the library’s full list of database subscriptions.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Beyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of PhiladelphiaBeyond books: 9 ways to make the most of the Free Library of Philadelphia

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CATEGORIES: THINGS TO DO
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