5 ways your local library can help you get ahead

A man holds up his library card. (Orange County Library)

While most people know libraries offer invaluable resources, such as home delivery of library materials and daily story times, there are several other innovative services libraries offer to help people in our community get ahead.

Did you know April 4 through 10 is National Library Week? The annual celebration, led by the American Library Association, is a time to highlight the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening communities.

Here are just some of the services the library offers to help transform lives and strengthen our community:

  1. If you or someone you know is in need of help to secure housing or apply for unemployment, the library’s social worker is available to help by appointment in-person or online.
  2. Entrepreneurs and aspiring small business owners can use the library’s online resources to learn how to write a business plan, access consumer research data and find crucial legal forms. These tools, which typically come at a high cost for businesses with little capital to start, are entirely free with a library card.
  3. Knowledgeable librarians can help you learn more about a multitude of topics when you use the Book-A-Pro service. Whether its uncovering local history for a school project or finding grants to support your nonprofit, you can get in-depth expertise at no cost.
  4. Subscriptions to online learning platforms can be impractical for those on a budget. The library offers daily classes (currently being offered in an online environment) on everything from Adobe Photoshop and InDesign to Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. Can’t make a live class? Learn at your own pace with LinkedIn Learning for Libraries -- also free with a library card.
  5. The library is for everyone! Newcomers to the U.S. can attend virtual English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes, or prepare for the U.S. Naturalization Test and interview with the free Citizenship Inspired series. Dozens of students have credited the local library with their ability to successfully pass the exam and interview.

If you’re struggling with a challenge or you’re ready to jump into something new, consider checking out your local library for guidance and support along the way.