When’s the last time you visited your local library? With the cold settling in and snow on the way, now is a great time to check out all that your public library has to offer. Here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, we are blessed to have a number of terrific public libraries, each offering a wide range of services that go way beyond books. (Don’t get us wrong, we love books, too!)  Here are ten of our favorite things you can do at one of our public libraries here in the MOV.

Watch a new movie.

Why RedBox or Netflix when you can check out new movies from the library for free? Sure, you might have to add your name to a hold list if it’s a hot ticket item, but it is always fun to browse the collection to see what catches your eye. Some libraries, like the Lafayette Plaza Library, even have a browsing collection of the latest movies to hit the shelves available to walk-in patrons only. Items in the browsing collection cannot be placed on hold, making them more readily available! Plus, most libraries give you at least a week to watch and return, so you don’t risk a Redbox late fee if your plans change that night. Put that money towards date night, instead!

Learn a new skill.

If you have an Ohio library card, you can access Lynda.com, a skills training site, for free! Lynda.com offers more than 6,600 professional online training courses in 3D Animation, Audio, Business, Creative Inspirations, Design, Developer, Home Computing, Photography, Video, Web & Interactive, and much more. If you don’t have an Ohio library card, it is now free for out-of-state residents to sign up through the Washington County Public Library system.

Pick up a new language.

Planning an overseas trip in 2019? Through the Washington County Public Library system, you can access Transparent Language Online and learn a new language for free. With over 100 languages to choose from, including English for speakers of over 26 languages, there is something for every learner. Best of all, with enhanced support for mobile platforms, learners can enjoy the freedom to learn at home, in the library, or on the go!

Download e-books, audio books, and magazines.

Thanks to apps like Overdrive, WVREADS, Hoopla, Flipster, and RBDigital, you can use your library card to borrow e-books, audiobooks, and more directly to your personal devices from your local public library. Just look for the “Digital Download” section of your library’s website and start exploring!

Check out an energy monitor.

In partnership with AEP Ohio, the Washington County Public Library offers a number of Kill-A-Watt energy meters available for checkout! The Kill-A-Watt meter measures the amount of electricity various household appliances use in real time, identifying the biggest opportunities for savings. Understanding your energy consumption is the first step to knowing how to reduce it! Kill-A-Watt meters can be checked out from the circulation desk at the Marietta Library on 5th Street.

Take advantage of free Wi-Fi.

That’s right, the library offers free Wi-Fi, computers (for all your browsing and research needs!) and some libraries even have laptops you can borrow to work on while you’re there. Not to mention access to printers, copiers, and scanners. The Lafayette Plaza Library can even help you print photos directly from your phone! Several of our local libraries also have wireless routers you can borrow to take home for use.

Diagnose your car trouble.

Car trouble? The Washington County Public Library has Diagnostic Scan Tools to make it easy to troubleshoot 1996 and newer OBD2 vehicles, which you can check out with your library card! The scan tool can do things like read and erase “Check Engine” light warnings on any foreign or domestic 1996 and newer car, light truck, SUV or Hybrid, and view live data in real time for more accurate troubleshooting and diagnosis. You can also use the Chilton Online Library, available through both the Parkersburg & Wood County Public Library and the Washington County Public Library.

Entertain your kiddos.

All of our local libraries offer terrific programs for kids of all ages! From baby lap sits and wiggle time, to toddler time and story hour, to the Library Lego Club and craft workshops, local library programs are most often free, or affordably priced if there is a cost for materials. Outside of programming, every library has an area for children stocked with books, toys, stuffed animals, puzzles and more. The Emerson Library recently renovated their children’s area, complete with a Lego Wall!

Get help with your homework.

Ask your  local librarian  about homework help, tutoring, SAT/ACT prep, and even for help with college searches and financial aid information. Online programs are available with a library card, including FEV Tutor which provides students in grades 3-12 with virtual one to one tutoring. Students can log on to a scheduled session or request an “on demand” session at any time. Tutors will help students with homework, studying for a test, practicing a specific standard, and anything in between!  

View local art.

Libraries can also be a great place to appreciate local artwork. The Barlow Public Library features a local artist each month, displaying their collection of work throughout the stacks and on the walls. The library is looking for quilters, painters, photographers, woodworkers, cross-stitchers, potters, and everything in between!

So don’t wait, stop by your local library and start taking advantage of an abundance of free, community resources!