Have you been to the library? If not, you are missing out on a ton of free services for you and your family.
“People just think you have the dusty books, but there is a ton of online resources,” said Katie Buxbaum, library technician and youth programming coordinator. She added that the Army MWR Library System has one of the world’s largest collections.
“We’re evolving with what our customers need. We’ve gone more into the tech age,” she said about their emphasis with online resources.
Here are 9 things you can do to take advantage of services provided by the Fort Belvoir Library (some don’t require leaving home):
1. No matter where you are, access online collections.
Whether you have PCS’d or deployed, you’ll have access to the Army library system/’s large, online collection.
“Your account is the same. You don’t lose access,” Buxbaum said.
2. Learn a foreign language with Mango Languages.
You can learn more than 70 languages with its services, from the comfort of your home.
3. Download books, audiobooks or magazines.
The library offers electronic options to download to your tablet or phone with Overdrive and RBDigital and all for free and from the comfort of your home.
4. Prepare for big tests.
The library offers online test prep LearningExpress: Test Prep. Tests include ASVAB, AP practice exams, DSST, GRE, MAT and SAT.
5. Entertainment for children, teens.
The library offers three different Story Time events. There is the weekly Story Time, Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
A science-themed storytime is on the last Tuesday of each month, 10:30-11:30 a.m. and the first Friday of each month, libraries from the Fairfax County Library System hosts Story Time.
For teens in grades 7-12, Buxbaum hosts teen activity nights every month. The next one is March 30 from 4-6 p.m. During each event, she does something different. Since Teen Tech Week is in March, Buxbaum said this month’s theme is a high-low tech night, where teens will explore old and new technology to see how tech has changed over many decades.
“It’s a fun place to come and hang out on a Saturday,” Buxbaum said.
6. Get your computer and printing needs solved.
The library offers 13 public computers, free wi-fi and a copier and printer.
7. Have another place to study or work.
With its free wi-fi and study area, the library makes a great alternative to your desk at home or at work. You can also use the space as a home away from home to read and relax. Some furniture has power outlets, too, to recharge your devices.
8. Do your research.
The Fort Belvoir Library offers online databases that allow access to online journals, magazines and other sources that would otherwise cost you money to access.
9. Get your kids active in STEM.
Buxbaum said libraries are becoming more focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities.
“We’re moving into that tech era and having programs introducing kids to programming at young age,” she said.
The library recently hosted a Robot Rodeo, when kids were able to get hands-on with problem solving and coding. Buxbaum said they are planning more STEM programs.