What if I told you there was a place in your hometown that gave you free access to DVDs/BluRays, music, books, and graphic novels? And that many of these places also offer free wifi? And air conditioning? Sounds pretty good, right?
That’s right, your local library has a ton of resources that you’re actually going to want to use. In fact, most local town libraries have entire sections devoted to people in middle school and high school!
Hopefully, you have a library card already. If not, don’t worry, they’re free!
Every public library in Maine is a little different, but most have a few things in common.
- Maine infonet – Most Maine libraries are members of Maine Infonet, an online library for audio and ebooks. Your library card will give you access, and then you can check out books for phone/tablet/computer in a variety of different formats. The selection varies a little by topic and category, and the more popular books come with waiting lists, but they’re free!
- Marvel – Every library in Maine has access to this online library that is funded from a variety of sources, including several colleges and the Maine State Legislature. Your local library card gives you a access to an absolute ton of content, including Novelist Plus, which is a collection of thousands of recommendations. Having a hard time finding something to read? This is a great place to start! There are also thousands of online magazines and newspapers, so there is almost a guarantee that there will be something of interest for everyone!
- Interlibrary loans – Even the smaller town libraries for the most part participate in interlibrary loans throughout the state. If your local library doesn’t have the book or movie you’re looking for, they can often find it at another library in Maine, and it can usually be shipped to your library at no cost.
- Websites – This may seem obvious, but all public libraries have websites these days, of varying qualities. At a minimum they will tell you where and when your local library is open, but most go quite a bit further than that as well! For instance, the Carver Memorial Library in Searsport includes their online calender of events, as well as a list of resources available online.
- Public computers – These days, most libraries have computers available for use by the public. Restrictions will vary from place to place.
There are other features that vary a little bit from library to library.
- Many libraries have free passes to museums and other activities. In some cases, this includes free passes to state parks, the Boston Aquarium, or the Portland Museum of Art.
- Memberships in other libraries – Many public libraries have partnerships with other libraries in the area. For example, some libraries have partnerships with the Portland Public Library, which can get you access to the some memberships Portland has that not all libraries have, such as access to Hoopla, an online library site similar to Netflix.
- Activities for teens – The level varies pretty wildly from library to library, but most town libraries have a decent amount of teen activities. Lewiston, for example, is holding a Best Smoothie contest July 27th! Interested in Minecraft? The Paris Public Library has regular Minecraft events for teens to get together and play.
Not sure what your library has to offer? Just walk in and ask! Librarians are by nature a friendly bunch, and there’s nothing they like more than showing off what their library has to offer!