Local libraries are absolute goldmines! I never realized how wonderful library resources could be until I started homeschooling and wasn’t able to afford all the books I wanted to use, but then I discovered a world of other services they offer too.
Most everyone probably knows that local public libraries own thousands of books, music CD’s, movies on DVD and VHS, educational videos, as well as audio books on tape and even some children’s computer games that can be checked out.
You might have also visited your local library and noticed the wonderful story time presentations they have, as well as other workshops or fun people like magicians, animal trainers etc.
The best part of all is the cost of these… FREE!
Now, I saved the best for last: I have found one service most valuable of all in my homeschool life and it involves inter-library loans. If a local library does not have a book/CD/DVD that you need, you can request them to order it from another library in the library system and in a few days you will have the item delivered to your local library for you to pick up. They can even notify you via mail/email when it has arrived. Now, that would be cool enough in itself, but there’s even more good news. You can do all this online at a time that is convenient for you without even leaving your house. The system is sometimes unavailable after midnight for a few hours (when I’m still working), but any other time, you can actually type in a keyword, search the whole Los Angeles County public library system for it and request it to be delivered to the library of your choice. As you are searching, you can also see which libraries have the item and if it is checked out or not, if you need it in a hurry and just want to drive over and check it out. These books can be picked up at either Acton/Agua Dulce or Castaic branches, which are the closest branches to Santa Clarita.
So, if you’ve never heard of this and would like to start using this, you should start by visiting your local library and obtaining a library card and also ask them to connect you to their online system. Once that is done, you will log on to www.catalog.colapl.org, log into your account and start searching for what you need. If you have an exact title, you can search for the exact title or if you just want to see what they have on e.g. Korea, you just type that keyword. You can search by author, subject, title, keyword, magazine title or series title. Once you find what you are looking for, you click on “Place Hold on this item” and pick the library at which you will be picking it up and you are set! You can also renew these items online unless it was requested by another user.
We now also have our own private Santa Clarita Libraries too and there are several libraries in the system, so inter-library loans are available from there as well.
I have found this such an immense resource that I just had to share that and I hope it works as great for you as it has been for my family.
I’m excited to let you know that a friend of mine volunteered at the library in Santa Clarita for a while to earn some credit and she let me in on even more library secrets that I haven’t discovered yet, so I wanted to share them with you.
She told me that, not only can you borrow from any library which is part of the LA County Public Library system, but for a small fee, it is even possible to request books from outside the system through a librarian. The great thing with libraries are that they sometimes have books that aren’t available for sale anymore and you can find so many books with this added service. She advised that if the librarian doesn’t seem to know about it, check with the head librarian, because it can be done.
They also have amazing internet resources. Downloadable ebooks & audiobooks as well as online World Book encyclopedia are just some of the great resources. There is a whole section for kids. All you need is your library card number.
There is even free online tutoring, just need your library card number.