When was the last time you visited your local library? If you are anything like me then you have a library membership, for your little ones, but your own library card has been gathering dust somewhat. Some of us have probably enjoyed taking our babies to one of the rhyme time sessions. But, that’s about as far as it goes. Right?

I have to admit that until a few months ago, I had not used my library card for so long, my account had actually been closed. I didn’t need it, or so I thought because my son was using his own and I was completely unaware of the vast array of stuff that’s on offer throughout West Sussex!

After chatting with a librarian friend by complete coincidence I found out that our library service has really upped its game without me even realising. So, with the help of my friend, I set about listing all the services there are on offer, most of which are completely free or available at very low cost.

More than just books – did you know you can hire FREE audiobooks?

Yes, you don’t need an expensive audiobook subscription! As well as audiobooks, also available to borrow are eBooks, eMagazines and eComics on an app called RBDigital where you simply register with your existing library account. Another app is Pressreader where you can read newspapers. I like to buy those expensive photography magazines; you know at £5 a pop; now I can read them for free!

DVDs, CDs and Toys

In the library, there are books on CD, DVDs and music CDs, some for up to three weeks, at a very reasonable cost. There is a toy library to loan toys for three weeks at only £2. You can also buy books in your local branch or online, again at very low cost to you.

The library app

Keep track of what you have on loan, renew titles easily, search and reserve stuff to come to your local branch or how about scanning an ISBN number when you are in a bookstore to check whether that book is available at your library? All of that and more is available through the free library app.

Activities and services

For children and adults there are many different sessions available:

  • Toddler Time
  • Baby Rhyme Time
  • Story Magic
  • Knit and Natter
  • Library Games after School
  • Relax with Colouring
  • Various reading groups
  • Board Games
  • Book Break, which is like a reading group but you don’t all have to read the same book
  • Mental Health Advice & Information Drop-in
  • Multi-Sensory Story Magic

Every summer your kids can take part in the Summer Reading Challenge where they usually solve a mystery with clues around the library, whilst taking home books of their choice across the summer holidays and collecting stamps for each book they read or have you read to them.

Find out more about what’s on in your local branch at https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries/whats-on-in-libraries/

Learning & Free internet every day

Take your tablet along to an E-Book drop-in session to get a lesson on the e-Products available. For those wanting to improve your computer skills, make a Computer Buddy Appointment for one-to-one tutorials. Of course, you can access the internet at your local branch for two hours for free every day.

Special services

‘Understand Me’ is a special communications library with a range of resources to help your child who has difficulty communicating because of a disability. This includes devices to help with AAC (alternative augmentative communication). Find out more.

‘Melody for the Mind’ is a singing session to help people suffering from dementia. For the same purpose you can also borough so-called Reminiscence Packs that help people with dementia connect to their past; like movies from the past, going to the seaside, wash days, school days etc.

Phew! That is quite some list, don’t you agree? I hope you’ve found something in there to interest you and that I have redeemed myself for my apparent ignorance before 🙂 And needless to say, I am in possession of a brand new membership card. To keep up to date with your local library, do check them out on Facebook or Twitter or just pay them a visit in person next time you are passing…

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