by Peyton Jenkins, Branch Manager, Grain Valley Branch, Mid-Continent Public Library
Here at the library, we love books. We loooove them. We love talking about them, sharing them, smelling them, and sometimes we even get around to reading them. We love books so much that I bet that’s the first thing that comes to mind when you picture the library.
Well, guilty as charged—but did you know how much more the library offers? Here are 12 things you can do at Mid-Continent Public Library besides check out books (although you’re always welcome to do that too!).
Learn a foreign language.
Whether you’re trying to fulfill that lifelong dream of learning Telugu or brushing up on your Swedish before summer vacation, the Library has you covered. We have a variety of foreign language databases for learners of all ages. My favorite is Mango Languages, which offers a bright, visual method of learning. You can even take a course in Pirate! Ahoy, matey!
Earn your high school diploma.
MCPL is proud to sponsor Career Online High School, which offers local adults the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma. This joint partnership with Kansas City Public Library and Literary KC recently graduated its second class of students! Certain eligibility requirements apply, but this is an excellent opportunity to advance your education.
Tell your story.
Have you been looking for a way to express yourself? MCPL will help you find the words. If you are an aspiring novelist, memoirist, poet, dramatist, or oral storyteller, MCPL’s Story Center offers a variety of programs and resources to help you hone your craft. If you would like to preserve your loved ones’ stories, explore the Tell Me a Story oral history program at the Midwest Genealogy Center. We all have stories to tell—let MCPL help you tell yours!
Not only can The Story Center help you put pen to paper, it can help you publish your work! Woodneath Press is MCPL’s publishing imprint, which focuses on works of local interest. If you’d like to self-publish, the Espresso Book Machine (also part of The Story Center) is a print-on-demand service that can turn out a paperback book in minutes. If you are interested in either of these services, visit MyStoryCenter.org today!
Start a business.
You have the idea. You have the passion. You have the drive. Now what? Make an appointment with Square One Small Business Services, a free service that will help you discover the potential in your small business. Square One offers a variety of services, including expert-led classes and one-on-one consultations. Whatever your small business dream, Square One can help you achieve it.
Research your past.
Located in Independence, the Midwest Genealogy Center is MCPL’s state-of-the-art genealogical research facility full of handy resources and helpful staff. Whether you are a weekend genealogist or a hardcore researcher, MGC offers the help you’re looking for. Take a tour; take a class; take a look―your family history is just waiting for you to uncover it.
Download or stream music.
With Freegal Music―available with your Library card―your favorite songs and artists are at your fingertips. Download and keep five songs a week, or stream anytime―all for free! I personally may have gone a little overboard with the Dolly Parton downloads, but hey, they’re free!
Print on the go.
We’ve all been there―the mad rush out the door with lunch in one hand, dog leash in the other, keys in mouth (unsanitary, but you know you’ve done it!), and it hits you! You forgot to print that very important thing! Well, MCPL has you covered. Each of our branches offers mobile printing! Print from your phone, laptop, or other device with the easy PrinterOn app. Just send the document through the app and pay and print at your convenience! Also ask at your local branch about printing via email.
Rub elbows with authors.
MCPL offers many exciting opportunities to meet and chat with authors, both local and nationally recognized. Whether through The Story Center’s ongoing Speaker Series or special events such as the LitUp Festival or annual Legacy Luncheon, we are committed to providing you access to some of the most inspiring and talented writers of the decade. Past author visits include Alexander McCall Smith, Gillian Flynn, and Jacqueline Woodson. Visit mymcpl.org/SpeakerSeries to see who will visit next!
Fix your car.
For the mechanically minded of you, MCPL offers several automotive databases complete with diagrams, schematics, and step-by-step instructions. Find the fix you need, print, and go—your project is waiting! Some of these services are available in-branch only, but our friendly staff is always here to help.
Hold a meeting.
Whether you’re hosting a small meeting or tutoring session, or a much larger community event, MCPL offers a range of spaces to accommodate your needs. Not all of the rooms are free, and there are specific limitations on the kinds of meetings you can host (no birthday parties or weddings, please), but for a convenient coworking space with a range of amenities, including high-speed Wi-Fi, look no further than your local Library!
Let’s face it: everybody loves free stuff. And the Library loves to give you free stuff! In addition to our year-round free resources and services, we regularly have contests, drawings, reading challenges, and programs that offer prizes for all ages.
With the help of generous community partners, we’ve given away Kindles, Beats headphones, tickets to sporting events, ballets, musicals, museums, and concerts, and even an all-expense-paid trip to the Dominican Republic! Obviously, prizes and contests will vary, but stop by soon—you never know what we’ll be giving away next.
So there you have it. Twelve things you can do at your local Library without checking out a single book. So what are you waiting for? Come on down, and we’ll be glad to get you started. We can’t wait to see you!