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L&A Libraries’ Hidden Gems

Libraries big and small, rural or urban are chock full of hidden gems that go far beyond books. It is these hidden gems that make a library timeless, explorative, and fun – and a place for everyone. Often these unique hidden gems go unnoticed by people in the community, not intentionally, but you might be surprised at our list of unique, value-packed collections and services that you can find at your local library.

If you are a parent (particularly a stay-at-home parent) of busy little tots you may be longing for a safe, welcoming, child-friendly spot to spend time outside of the house. Your library is one you can count on. For example, at our Napanee and Amherstview branches we have a wide variety of self-service toys for all ages. Drop in to play (with adult supervision) anytime! We added thirty fresh new educational and sensory toys, puzzles, and games (think Melissa & Doug, Fatbrain, Lovevery) to this collection only a couple of months ago. We love when young children and their caregivers visit the library to play for extended periods. It’s a great way to combat social isolation, get some energy out, and discover something new – it’s also a great way to encourage regular library visits and spark and early love of books and reading.

Hopefully by now you are aware that the library offers you access to millions of free ebooks and audiobooks, but did you know about Libby Magazines? Through the Libby app, you can access 1000s of popular magazines and even subscribe to your favourites so you never miss an issue. I enjoy Architectural Digest, Veranda, Vogue, the various iterations of Conde Nast Traveller and, of course, National Geographic. You’ll also find all the popular cooking magazines (e.g. Bon Appetit, Taste of Home), entertainment magazines (e.g. People, Rolling Stone), news and politics (Newsweek, The New Yorker), and plenty of options for special interests from knitting to boating, cat ownership to gaming. It may not replace the nostalgic feeling of flipping through a glossy magazine, but it’s free and there’s a ton of variety. 

Did you know we offer a wide range of passes for free or reduced admission to museums and other local and regional educational attractions? With the help of our library pass program, you and your family can explore new places and revisit favourites (e.g. Museum of L&A, National Gallery, Canadian Museum of History, Provincial Parks, and Quinte Conservation sites). This program was started several years ago but we continue to add to this collection. Keep in mind that each pass has its own borrowing stipulations (borrowing periods, for example) and given the popularity of these passes, you may need to nab one at just the right time. They are available on a first come, first serve basis but you can check our online catalogue for availability at branch locations.

A lot of people are surprised to learn that we offer general tech support (“Tech Talks”) at our branches. Maybe you are struggling to set up on email on your new telephone, want to learn how to download a library ebook to your tablet, or don’t know where to find an important government form on the internet – we can help! Because some requests are time consuming, we ask that you call ahead to book an appointment so we can ensure we have staff available to offer you dedicated support.

Finally, the most important hidden gem at the library is perhaps the most obvious: your library card! I am always surprised at others’ surprise when they learn that library cards are free for residents of Lennox & Addington County. Just drop in with your proof of residency, and you’ll have free access to all of the perks described in this article — plus plenty more.

Originally published in The Napanee Beaver.

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