Libraries are tremendous institutions of knowledge, obviously. They have millions of books, of course. However, Colorado’s public libraries have so much more to offer without any extra costs or fees. Each library has offerings that are community specific and are built to engage patrons with diverse backgrounds and interests. When you think of libraries, think content for communities, not just books.
Libraries Across the State
Most Colorado public libraries now have downloadable apps like Libby or OverDrive that allow you to check out ebooks and audiobooks without leaving your home. Furthermore, most libraries offer vast databases of movies, music, and television—like Kanopy which allows library patrons to browse thousands of different titles of streaming content, all for free.
The Denver Public Library’s Volume: a Local Music Project offers patrons the ability to stream live music from local artists. There are many genres to choose from and if you are a local artist yourself, you can fill out a form and submit your music to the site.
You can also set up an appointment with their Business Librarian to discuss starting your own small business and building a solid business plan. Patrons can search the library’s databases to access demographics and industry-related tools to help make business decisions like where to locate your storefront or how to find qualified workers. Additionally, they assist non-profits in finding grants to apply for plus provide tools and resources to help organizations write successful grant proposals.
Another exciting service offered is the ability to check out museum and cultural passes which allow patrons to visit other local institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver or the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for free. All you need to do is book a pass up to 30 days in advance online and have a permanent Denver Public Library card.
The Seed to Table program at the Boulder Public Library allows community members to check out seed packets in order to grow fresh vegetables, herbs, and other plants at home. The program also includes a community garden where people are encouraged to try samples of the produce and a library café that showcases local food to engage the public in a larger discussion around local agriculture.
The library also hosts more than just human patrons. They have multiple community bee hives for children and adults to learn more about the Earth’s most powerful pollinators. In fact, the hives themselves were built by community members and the upkeep is used as a hands-on learning tool to spread knowledge about how bees impact local environments.
If you live in the northern suburbs of Denver, it’s likely you have driven by or visited an Anythink Library branch. Not only does this library district have seven physical branches throughout Adams County, but they offer a plethora of free online resources that you can access with your library card. One favorite resource is Lynda.com. This website has video courses on everything from 3D animation, audio mixing, and Adobe Photoshop to social media marketing, project management, cloud computing, and more!
The Pueblo City-County Library’s Hispanic Resource Center has a mission to, “provide services, activities and free resources for both Spanish and English speakers.” This includes bilingual staff, community resources, and materials in both English and Spanish. They host the All Pueblo Grows Seed Lending Library similar to the Boulder Public Library’s service, but with a focus on plants that are native to the Pueblo area.
The Library’s Digital Memory Lab allows patrons to digitize multiple formats of material like VHS tapes, slides, photo negatives, and audio cassettes with the assistance of library staff. This service is provided free of charge, you simply need to attend an orientation session and make a reservation to digitize your materials.
Public libraries have changed and evolved to reflect the communities they support and there are no limits to the services that they offer. If, by chance, your library does not provide something that you are interested in, you can suggest they purchase items or offer certain events. Your tax dollars help fund local libraries, so take advantage of all the wonderful resources they provide— there’s something for everyone.