Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mobile Public Library System

September 26 through October 3 is Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. This seems like a great time to write about one of my favorite places, the library. I know what you're thinking and you can stop rolling your eyes. If the last time you visited a Mobile County Library was to research a term paper then you need to take another look at your local branch. Our libraries really do qualify as someplace to go - something to do and the best part is they're free.

There are nine branches so the entire county is covered and for those people who can't get to a local branch there's the Bookmobile. The branch locations and bookmobile stops are listed on the Library website as are the hours of operation for each branch. Of course you can check out books on a variety of topics at the library but there is so much more than that going on. Music CD's from all genres and a huge selection of Books on Tape can be checked out at no cost and the DVD section contains movies and TV shows that rent for only $1 a week. Computers are available for use and Internet service is provided at no cost, however you will need to pay for anything you want printed.

Much of this may not be news to you but did you know that the library also offers a variety of free classes and events? You can learn basic computer skills, Excel and Power Point, take genealogical courses or learn the basics of grant proposal writing. A class entitled Job Hunting in the 21st Century will teach attendees how to write a resume and use the Internet to find employment opportunities. Classes in art and crocheting, a chess club and weekly Storytelling sessions are some of the available options for children and the Library website offers homework help online from live tutors.

Book lovers can join any of the seven book clubs that meet at the various branches. They include Not Your Average Book Club, Ebony Moments, Classics Revisited, Life Begins at 50, Poetry Enthusiasts, Murder by Numbers and a new club called The Eclectic Book Club. There are also a variety of free movies shown at the various branches each month. Many are family oriented but there are also documentaries, foreign films, science fiction and film classics for adults. Check the event schedule on the website for the upcoming list and locations.

The libraries offers a variety of exhibits on art, science, gardening and crafts just to cover a few topics. All events can be found on the website but you can pick up brochures at any branch or sign up for a variety of email alerts that will keep you up to date.

The days are already getting shorter, the weather will be turning colder and the holidays will be on us before we know it. We'll all be spending more time indoors and we'll be wondering how we're going to pay for Christmas. So this is the perfect time to stop by your local library and check out some books on weatherproofing your home, mixing that perfect cup of hot cocoa, or how to make a Halloween Costume. Better still, just grab a classic Holiday DVD or pick up an intriguing little murder mystery to read in bed under the covers. Happy reading!

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