Raise your hand if you have a library card.
I thought so. Most homeschoolers do, of course. However, are you using your library card to its full potential? Most card-holders aren’t. Library card benefits include borrowing wagon-fulls of books and other media every few weeks, but what else might you be missing?
Does your library offer free classes? Ours has classes, clubs, and social events for people of all ages. There’s LEGO club twice a week, free tutoring, a robotics club, knitting nights, preschool story time, teen gatherings, and more. Museum discounts? We’ve got those, too! Using Discover&Go we get free or discounted admission once a year to several local museums, zoos, and parks.
What about access to online materials that you might otherwise have to pay for? Discounts at local stores? Chances are you’re skipping out on some awesome stuff that could be saving you hundreds of dollars every year on resources that you’re not buying because it’s too expensive.
Do me a favor: go to your library system’s website and find the benefits page. It’s probably called something like ‘resources‘, ‘learning‘, or ‘education‘. Now, look at all the stuff you might be missing out on.
Anything surprise you?
Need an example? We have cards to library systems in both Northern and Southern California. Let’s take a look at the benefits from my Los Angeles County Public Library card. Through them I have access to the following:
Lynda, Rosetta Stone, and Universal Class are gold mines for a homeschooler. A year of access for just these three sites alone would cost upwards of $600. And that’s with a SINGLE language from Rosetta Stone; with our library access, we can run through EVERY language if we want.
Mango Languages, which was originally free, and then sold off to schools and libraries, and now otherwise requires a $20 per month subscription? Free with your card in most systems. And if you’re SUPER lucky, your library has upgraded their subscription so that you also have access to Little Pim, the branch of the program geared toward babies and toddlers through kindergarten…I’m looking at you, Alabama, DC, NY…check your cards, folks!
Want to learn to code from one of the best online, self-paced programs? A San Francisco Library card gets you a FREE Treehouse account! Side note: We won’t talk about what I had to do to get this card, cause Lord knows I hate going into The City.
Looking for more advanced skill courses for your high schooler but not quite ready for dual enrollment? Many colleges offer online classes from a platform called ed2go (formerly Gale Courses). ed2go partners with local colleges to offer training for entry level certifications like IT helpdesk and beginning programming, as well as business courses, computer applications courses, higher level math, and healthcare basics. These courses are all FREE when you enroll in them through your local library – individually, courses start at $115 each.
In early 2018, a library system in Michigan partnered with ALL of the local Costcos and for one week they allowed all library card holders to shop at Costco by flashing their library card, even if they didn’t have a Costco membership – um, I need someone around here to do this, please!
Your options with a library card in hand are literally limitless. We’re big supporters of the library here — just ask me what I pay in fees every year. *silent tear
Did you find any awesome new resources to look into? Let me know!
Don’t forget to check out one of my favorite tags, the #libraryhauls of Instagram.