Beyond Books: There's More to Your Library Card

By: Paige Wolff
     Happy September!  We’ve just about made it through the summer, and cooler weather beckons a book and a lounge chair by the pool!  If you’re looking for a new great read, you’re in luck; it’s Library Card Sign-Up Month!  Tons of libraries throughout the area offer free membership to Maricopa County residents.  Read on to learn about fantastic features and programs that are accessible with a library card!
     Have a kiddo who’s interested in astronomy?  The Maricopa County Library District Card may be a card for you!  There are several Orion StarBlast telescopes available for loan at the Fountain Hills Branch Library, which is part of the Maricopa County Library District.  There’s even a Fountain Hills Astronomy Club for explorers of all ages, and membership is free!  For more information, click here!
     Any theater lovers in the family?  Art lovers?  Nature lovers?  If you’re unfamiliar with the Maricopa County Culture Passes, you’re in for a great surprise!  At many of the local public libraries (Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe to name a few), cardholders can check out admission tickets to performances and venues such as Phoenix Theater’s “The Wizard of Oz” (November 19th-December 1st), Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker” (December 13th-December 26th), the Phoenix Art Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, and more!  If you’re looking for a relaxing spot to read, I recommend the Japanese Friendship Garden, for which Culture Passes will be available in October!  Check out all of the fabulous and free opportunities here!
     Calling all musicians!  Did you know that the Scottsdale Public Library is offering free guitar lessons to children aged 5 through 14 this month and next?!  All materials are provided, and students are grouped based on age.  To enroll and/or discover other engaging activities, visit the Event Calendar here!
     Animal lovers, rejoice!  The Phoenix Public Library brings registered therapy dogs in to hang out and listen to little ones reading books!  This is an encouraging program for shy or reluctant readers—the dogs certainly aren’t judging!  To meet the pups and learn more, visit the Sit, Stay, Read! site here!
     Just when you thought I’d overlooked the older crowd, here’s a paragraph for the high schoolers!  With age comes responsibility, so this will be a mixture of work and play.  In the end of September, the Scottsdale Public Library is offering a free practice SAT Exam & follow-up workshop with score reports included.  Princeton Review is leading these events, and registration can be done through this site (exam) and this site (workshop).  Beyond that, there are college-planning advisors at the Phoenix Public Library who can help cardholders navigate the world of applications, financial aid, scholarships, and more!  Learn more about such services here!  When it’s time to unwind from all of the college prep, free music downloads and streaming are available!  Through services called Freegal and hoopla, all of this is possible.  To access these benefits through the Phoenix Public Library, click here, and to do so through the Scottsdale Public Library, click here!  Movie streaming and TV Show streaming are also available through the Greater Phoenix Digital Library Screening Room!
     Who knew that our local public libraries have so much to offer?!  (And this is just the tip of the iceberg!)  Whether you and your family are drawn into the library, into culture sites, or into the vast realm of digital media, a library card is your key to it all.  Take advantage of it today!