Fun on a budget: Rethink the library as a potential social gathering place

By on January 9, 2009

by Gwen Allen

Although libraries aren’t exactly known as social hot spots, contrary to popular belief, they are, in many respects, a social destination. This is especially true in smaller communities, where there aren’t as many coffee shops, museums or cafes.

In almost every library surrounding Elburn there are program directors that do nothing but coordinate social functions for both children and adults. There are reading groups, “how-to” seminars and, of course, an array of craft classes aimed at any and every season or holiday.

The library programs are usually offered free or at a minimal cost, helping both individuals and families who are on a budget.

Cathy Korthals, program director for Elburn’s Town and Country Public Library, said the library is great because you can visit alone, with friends or with family.

“Why not come here, visit and find interesting things to do, rather then go to the mall?” Korthals suggested. “You don’t even need a library card (unless you want to check something out) to come in and enjoy all that it has to offer.”

In addition to lectures, workshops, classes and of course books, libraries are a great resource for other means of entertainment too. There are movie rentals on both VHS and DVD (free at most libraries), free Internet access, audio books for long drives, puzzles and games for children.

“In general, the library is really a bargain, because you can have meetings for free, the story times are free, and there are even free classes for children with reading delays,” Korthals said.

The Town and Country Public Library even has a coffee bar open on Saturday mornings that is sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Sukie Blake, Maple Park library director, said another reason to make a library a destination spot, especially for kids, is because it is warm, friendly and safe.

“It is close and the kids can just walk here,” Blake said. “And (again) it’s free, there are lots of activities for the kids here.”

So if saving money and time is what you seek, rediscover the library and leave the social “hot spots” to the crowds.

Elburn Town and Country Public Library
Check website for story times.
Check out a movie for free and get a free
package of microwave popcorn.
Computer Class
$5 each (eight total each month)
Check the website for topics and times
Lyric Oprah
Gives synopsis of current
opera being performed.
Room Designing
Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 pm.
Get a new look on a budget

Maple Park Public Library
Story time
every Wednesday at 10 a.m., for all ages.
Arts and Crafts
Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m.

Sugar Grove Public Library
A formal book club meets on the first
Tuesday of every month.
Story Time (2 to 5 years),
Lap-sit readings (up to 18 months) and Toddler Time require advance registration. To register by phone,
call (630) 466-4686 or e-mail.