Your Local Public Library


A Writers’ Need

By Annette Rey

Did You Know…?

A writer’s information resource often overlooked is your public library.

The library is not just about books anymore?

Your library is equipped with a check-out system you can access from your home computer. Isn’t that great when you are snowed in? That feature is a real plus for writers who don’t want to leave their lair. And what about the money you save when you don’t have to purchase a necessary product?

Let’s crack the surface and see all the things your library has to offer.

For some years now, the library has been the portal to the internet for many people who don’t yet own a computer. Several rows of computer keyboards and screens sit on long tables and are available for visitors’ use. The staff is trained to assist the uninformed, so don’t be shy. No question is too simple to ask.

The internet is accessible and free so, bring your laptop.

Many of you know you can walk in and check out audio books, most of which are on CD. DVDs are available in kids’ movies and in adult movies rated PG13 to R. The clarification I received is these are not pornographic movies, those are rated M for mature. The library does not carry them. For the more serious viewer, adult non-fiction DVDs can be found among books of similar title and/or subject.


There is so much to tell you about public libraries that I must resort to a numbered list to give a brief overview of their offerings. It is up to you to get the details by visiting your library. You need a library card to check out any item, physical or virtual.

1) Download an app titled Overdrive (no cost) to transfer eAudiobooks to your device.

2) Download Adobe Digital Editions software (no cost) to use eBooks you want to read.

3) To borrow Kindle books you need an Amazon account.

4) Besides an entire section of magazines in the library, you can view magazines from your home.

The library provides detailed pamphlets with straight-forward, step-by-step instructions for all of the above. The staff is well-versed to help you with each step if you need assistance.

All virtual items borrowed have a usual return date. The system de-activates the item by that date, but there is a procedure you can follow to return it earlier if you have finished using it.


As a writer, do you sometimes know you need additional information and you just don’t know where to look? You’ve exhausted book shelves and the internet in your search but, darn, you still have a need.

Lo and behold! The library has lots more pamphlets to study. I have one titled: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Inside is a list of specialized books I would not have known exist. Following are a few of the entries (don’t miss the whole list under the category Books on this site

FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics

Forensic Science (3 volume reference set)

The CSI Effect by Katherine Ramsland

The Real World of a Forensic Scientist by Henry Lee

The pamphlet also includes a list of forensic books for kids!

Another pamphlet is titled: Local True Crime Titles.

Yet another pamphlet is titled: Sources to Obtain a Death Certificate or Death Date. Inside are impressive listings. A few examples are:

International Vital Records Handbook by Thomas J. Kemp

Vital Records information on the internet,

Social Security Death Index,

Online searchable death indexes for the USA,

There are more searchable entries for death records listed by state. Also listed in the pamphlet are websites for obituaries, a newspaper index, and early birth and death records (pre-1910).

The library also provides information on finding grants and general assistance funds.

Libraries also offer adult yoga classes, Facebook training, introduction to Word, and adult coloring – all for free. Not to mention all the children’s offerings: storybook time, poetry contests, movie events, even Lego playtime. These activities give you and your kids a place to go and have fun at no cost.

So, you thought your library is a boring place. Everything you want is on the internet, right? Well, think again. Your public library is an adjunct to any seeking, serious writer.

A wealth of information is available to you.

Go check it out!

(This article is posted under the category Resources, and More Bang for Your Buck).


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