The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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Our City’s Hidden Gem: The Library

Our+Citys+Hidden+Gem%3A+The+Library

We take libraries for granted. They aren’t just boring places to find books. There are dozens of resources at your disposal at a library, all accessible completely for free with a library card. Yes, you can check out books, but are you aware of what else is at your disposal?

 

For one, you can check out CDs and DVDs. This is especially useful since many movies may not be available online. Chances are, the library will have a copy of it. In an era of streaming, CDs have lost much use, but if anyone enjoys ripping CDs for a personal digital collection, library CDs are always available. Some locations will also let you check out vinyl records, in case that’s up your alley.

Many library branches have an area reserved specifically for teens called YouMedia, featuring numerous resources specifically for teens. YouMedia at Harold Washington Library Center offers the most, from video games to instruments to video equipment to 3D printers and more. You can use sewing machines, DSLR cameras, and use their audio recording booth. Libraries will also hold events specifically for teens! Even if your local branch has no fancy YouMedia space, there is usually an area that adults are not allowed into if there are teens there.

 

Speaking of the Harold Washington Library Center, this library branch is central to the entire Chicago Public Library system. Easily accessible from any train in the loop, HWLC is nine floors with the most resources offered at any library in the city, all usable for free. My favorite areas include the 8th floor containing art books and sheet music, the 5th floor and 4th floor which both have collections of published magazines and journals. Looking through these collections is a great way to pass the time, especially since some collections are from the early 20th century.

For anyone who struggles with working outside of school, libraries serve as a good, peaceful substitute. Libraries always have desks that visitors can sit and work quietly at. From personal experience, the focused atmosphere makes for very productive studying. You can also reserve a study room if you want to study in a group, plus the library may have studying or tutoring sessions after school. 

 

Libraries have several digital resources in addition to vast collections of novels. With apps such as Hoopla and Overdrive, you can use your library card to check out eBooks and read books for free without ever going to a library in person. Patrons can also check out music, audiobooks, movies, and magazines from some of these apps.

 

A lesser known resource is that library cardholders can get free and discounted tickets to museums, sporting events, theaters, and more on the Chicago Public Library website with “Explore More Illinois.” Unfortunately, you must be over 18 to get them. These passes usually cover multiple people, so you can always get an older friend or relative to check one out.

 

Visit your local library!

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