Sometimes people do not know the value of having a library card. Whether you live in Fremont city limits and get a free library card, or if you are a non-resident and pay $35 a year for a card, you have access to the same wonderful resources. Too often I hear that community members are not aware of what resources we provide or why they should have a library card. I wanted to take a minute to go over a few of the benefits of having a library card.

Our biggest value to our patrons is the ability to checkout and read whatever print books they want. They can read Adult Fiction, Large Type books, Young Adult, Children’s, Non-fiction, Spanish, and magazines. We keep classics, New York Times’ Best Sellers, self-help, and instructional. If we don’t have these materials in our library, we can always Interlibrary Loan materials from libraries all across the country. We are encouraging patrons to request books and we are purchasing those items as part of our patron-driven acquisitions model. If you were to buy these books for yourself, you can spend anywhere from $7.99 on softbacks to $65 on Large Type hardbacks. Some non-fiction books cost as much as $100. Think about how much you spend a year buying your own copies of books and decide which is a more fiscally sound practice: buy them or rent them for free?

The same thing goes for our ebooks and audiobooks. We have audiobooks in CD format and Playaway MP3 format. We also have audiobooks and ebooks available through our Overdrive database and One Click Digital database. Here again is access to thousands of books of all genres available to card holders free of charge. You can also request certain authors and titles and we will add those to our electronic collections. So no matter how you prefer to read books, tangible books or e-readers, we have something for everyone.

Beyond the books in the library, you also have access to our computers, our entertainment DVD collection, music CD collection, and all of our online databases. We have databases on books/literature, business, genealogy, history/biography, periodicals, health, education, language learning courses, general information, employment, automotive repair, and law. Zinio is our online platform for magazines that gives you access to thousands of magazines covering all topics and genres. You can read about astronomy, art, business and finance, current affairs, food & cooking, home repair and more, without having to worry about where all those print copies are going to wind up in your home.

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Please take a look at what we offer and see how much value you can get out of a library card. And when people say things like “why would I go to the library” you can educate them on all they are missing by not having a library card. And if you have questions, stop by, call or chat with us online.

Tina Walker is Director of Keene Memorial Library in Fremont.

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