Sharing what’s Free: Libraries

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I believe greed is a poison in our world and want to oppose it as much as I can, every incremental action is worth something, I hope.

The number one place to go for free services in every city in the US, the one place where everyone is accepted regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status, physical abilities or attributes, citizenship status, political affiliation or anything else is….Libraries! They’re designed to be absolutely free, paid through public taxes (unlike the mega corporations: Amazon, Apple, etc, I cancelled Netflix for this reason).  The richest should pay their share of taxes; it’s outrageous that they don’t.

At Oakland Public Library (as well as others), you can borrow books, audiobooks (books on CD), magazines, movies and much more. Here’s a brief list of what’s available for Free:

1)books including large print, (LINK+ borrowing gives free access to library books/media from other library systems like SF, Berkeley etc)

2)audiobooks (great to listen to while doing other things, like cleaning/chores, while in traffic, etc).

3)magazines and newspapers (many are also online, free access to New York Times online)

4)DVDS (some BluRays, but not many)

5)music CDs, sheet music

6)toddler toys (dolls, dinosaurs, kitchen sets, blocks etc)

7)tools (gardening, plumbing, hardware)

8)WiFi free hotspot mobile access

9)video games

10)seed lending library (free seeds for gardening)

11)knitting needles/supplies

12)bicycle tire pump and lock

13)computers/laptops (library use only)

14)scanners and fax (both are free service, copiers cost 15 cents per page)

15)study rooms

16)programs: (arts/crafts, lectures, performances, yoga, cooking, writing groups)

17)tax preparation (low income requirement)

18)lawyer advice

19)resources for homeless (hygiene kits, referrals to food banks, clothing, showers, shelter)

20)snacks or lunch for kids and teens

21)online learning (foreign languages, career advancement, etc)

22)streaming video (Hoopla, Kanopy)

All for free!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. River Dixon says:

    Wow, that’s great they offer so many things. Free seeds and checking out gardening tools is a great idea.

    All this summer my daughter’s school is going to be open during the week at lunchtime. Any kid can come in and eat for free, no questions asked. I had never heard of that before. It’s great. For all the shit that is going on, there are still good things happening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you can “borrow” seeds and donate seeds too from what you’ve grown. The tool lending library is a mini Home Depot all for free, even chainsaws with workshops about plumbing and home repairs.

      Your daughter’s school sounds wonderful, the library has free lunches for kids especially in the summer, some kids rely on free school lunch, we provide it. Even while on strike, staff volunteered to keep the free lunch service operating. Thanks for your comment River.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jeremyjames says:

    Libraries are an incredible community resource that need to be celebrated much more….if not funds will dry up and people will simply use their single-user devices until the end of time

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think we have the end of time to use single use devices, but we act as if we do! Thanks for your comment Jeremy

      Like

  3. Wow! Our public libraries were not intended for such purposes. While I must commend the Oakland Public Library and other libraries that are offering these free services to their communities, I think that it’s a sad reflection of the times we live in. While a few among us grow richer, poverty spreads like a cancerous growth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes that’s true! Some librarians are even trained to give injections to revive people who overdosed. We need actual hospitals and mental health agencies, but it all gets allocated to libraries to handle the social service issues. On one hand the public needs these services, but you’re right it shouldn’t be our responsibility. When Reagan closed the mental hospitals in the 80s it sent the precedent. Libraries used to be silent places to study, research and find books…it’s now a community center environment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeff Cann says:

    I started working at my county’s library system in December. The amount of pride I get from my job is immeasurable. Nothing beats a library.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes good to feel proud of your work, libraries are the last refuge of community in a disconnected world. I’ve been a library nerd since high school, my first job, then in different systems in mid-adulthood, it was the perfect fit for me, I’m non-materialistic so the concept of sharing/borrowing matches my interests and intention.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Megala says:

    Great! This is really an incredible list of free services offered at the public library.

    Liked by 1 person

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