Free Services You Probably Don’t Realize Your Local Library Offers

With the world literally at our fingertips, it’s easy to forget that one of the best resources for education and entertainment isn’t just your home computer or tablet. It’s your local library – and there’s a good chance you have no idea just how much there is to discover there.

After all, you’re paying for it. Whether it be through federal and state funded programs or via your town’s real estate taxes, you and your neighbors are already funding your local library, so you might as well enjoy it!

Sure, you have probably taken advantage of the stacks upon stacks of books that line every row shelves. But what about everything else?

Let’s explore just how much a typical local library offers that you can benefit from.

Free Movie Rental, DVDs, CDs, and Magazines

Your local library likely has a huge media catalog which may include audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, magazines and videotapes. You can cut down your subscription charges with Netflix and Redbox by checking out from your local library instead. Some movie rentals are free, others may require a low fee as compared to subscription charges. Typically, new releases and popular items will still be free, but have a shorter rental period. Call or visit your library to find out what’s available.

The robust collection of DVDs subscription will leave you astonished. If you’re looking for family favorite and classics and are fed up with blockbusters, you can visit your local library. It’s common for libraries to stock magazines collection so you don’t have to read the content standing at a grocery store and you don’t have to spend a few dollars for reading a single issue. And if you’re going on a road trip just visit your library, grab a CD, and drive carefree without the struggle of tuning in to local radio stations.

Free Online Courses For Career Advancement

If you want to advance your career and learn a new skill then you need to know that your local library gives you access to various online courses for free. It ranges from business and sales to health care and marketing. You can also join and start a course for your entertainment in various categories which include arts, digital photography, personal finance, computer courses and much more.

These courses are taught by college professors and you can avail any course out of 360 by Gale Courses. Use your library card and excel at your skills for free.

Free Summer Reading Programs And Online Tutoring For Kids

Being a parent some of you want to see your child exploring his talent rather than wasting all the summer vacations playing video games, lying in bed. There are services available at the local library for your child too to encourage him to put down his gadgets and read books rather than gaming all the time.

Some local library also offers online tutoring for kindergarten through brain fuse. With the help of this program, your kid can join online study groups, games, online quizzes. It also provides an online tutor your kid can interact with every day. A live tutor is available from 1 pm to 10 pm. Your kid can seek help for his homework and can also submit questions.

Citizenship Resources And Language Learning

If you’re not a native English speaker or you don’t have a strong grip on English language or you want to learn a new language before going on a tour to other corners of the world, the best place to go is your library. Many libraries provide access to the Pronunciator series of courses or other language learning resources. It can help you learn dozens of languages in a short time. A normal subscription to Pronunciator is as high as 295 dollars per years but it’s free with your library membership.

Events, Classes, And Programs

If you’re thinking of utilizing your spare time productively, then you can fill all the unmarked days on your calendar with library activities. Rather than spending your precious time in isolation, you should visit our libraries and avail every opportunity that gives you an escape from monotonous life. Some free programs include career counseling, cooking classes, movie screening, and leadership opportunities for teens, anime club, workout classes, author visits and meet-ups with local interest based organization. A patron can enjoy all these cool events for free.

Kid’s Friendly Area

A library that has a dedicated area for your kid is worth finding and visiting. Some libraries offer kid-friendly toys, games, computers, and puzzles so they too can develop an interest in visiting libraries. If you’re living in a major city then your local library may offer you’re an incredible discount passes for places like museum, zoo, parks, aquarium, concerts, sports gala, ballet, orchestra happening near you.

How To Enjoy These Resources

You must apply for a library card if you don’t have one and this is a simple, free, and relatively easy process that requires little effort. Take advantage of all that your local library offers and save some of your hard earned cash with its free services. A library is a place you’ll never regret going and is worth every minute of the time you spent there.

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Who Decides What To Do With City Or County Tax Dollars?

The county budget is sensitive to the economic, legal, social, and political environment of the county or city. Before giving the insight on factors that influence county financial decision, here is illustrative break down of where your tax dollars are spent.

City or county taxes are used for different purposes than federal or country taxes. County taxes are invested for public services and betterment of infrastructure around your home, offices, and parks. But sometimes your taxes can also be used by federal government and vice versa. Whereas your state tax is used for funding projects at the national level and to support the bureaucracy.

Major County’s investment include:

Infrastructure:

City tax dollars are primarily used in the infrastructure of the county or city. It includes water lines, sewers, public parks, libraries, electricity, road development, and maintenance. Apart from taxes, county grows its financial resources by renting out properties owned by the county and are not in use. But contribute a small portion, rest is by the budget that comes from taxpayers.

City Administration

City offices are run from the tax dollars paid by the public. Sometimes property taxes are increased by the administration for their personal benefits and they earn huge salaries. Dealing with municipal finances requires a precise balance between competent people are attracted by paying high salaries for betterment and low salaries to conciliate the common person.

Public Security

Firefighters and police are those municipal departments that get their pay from tax dollars. These two departments are supported and funded by the will of people because no one mind paying their money for their protectors. For a burglarized house or for a house on fire they are the social bodies that provide you security.

County Taxes And State Taxes

At the hour of need and at the time of distress, county and state support each other by transferring their funds. So a state may share it’s the fund for the county’s infrastructure and conversely county support bureaucracy when needed.

Factors That Decide What To Do With County Tax Dollars

Political Involvement

County legislative board and managers use the budget in a way to satisfy citizens and public rather government. Budget allocation is affected by this way. County city and city size also affect the budget. Local politicians and local government provide a wide variety and quality of services to develop a good image and reputation. Then they see citizen involvement to get feedback by their public. The feedback is obtained through town hall meetings, neighborhood forums, interactive websites, and citizen survey.

Economic Influence:

There are four factors that decide economic influence

  • Economic cycle
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation
  • Competition among local governments

Economic ups and downs affect county budget because when there is a decline in revenues especially income tax and sales, economic cycle gets interrupted. During a recession, government funds to the county are reduced.

Rapid Increase in cost of living creates a state of uncertainty for county revenue and forecast of expenditure. The county budget is also affected by fluctuation in interest rates. Although, the effect is not as worse as compared to the federal government, where they need a continual borrowing.

Demographic And Social Change

Local budgets are affected by personal income, age distribution, and population. These factors exert a long-lasting effect.

Spending your fund on public safety, public education, and recreational services are the fund categories that are influenced by age distribution.  Reports have shown a significant increase in a county or local budget as the personal income of citizen increases. And person earning a high salary want to improve their lifestyle and expect an upgrade in local government services and are willing to pay taxes.

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Easy Ways To Get Involved In Your Local Community

All of us want to feel a sense of belonging in life and becoming active in our local communities is one of the quickest way to feel a part of something. Whether you’ve been living in your town for a decade or just moved in, there a number of ways to meet new neighbors, make new friends and become a contributing member of your town.

Having said that here are some ways you can easily get yourself involved in your local community:

Introduce Yourself:

The first baby step is the introduction. Just step out of your comfort zone and your house as well and meet your neighbors. Be courteous and approach your neighbors in a friendly manner and start a conversation. If a neighbor has just moved in, drop by with a Welcome Basket. If it’s winter, go door to door with homemade holiday cookies. Just find any reason to step outside and meet the homeowners around you.

Volunteer Your Free Time:

A satisfying way to spend your free time is volunteering. It requires no money and gives you a golden chance to meet like minded people. There are many different ways you can volunteer your time. If you’re an animal lover, volunteer yourself as a dog walker for a local animal shelter. Read newspaper to seniors. Volunteer yourself for collecting donations for charity events. Volunteer your services in organizing events in your community.

Subscribe To The Facebook Group Or Some App:

Social media gives you a goldmine of opportunities to socialize with your community members. There are countless groups on Facebook for just about every town out there, which is filled with your immediate neighbors. Join any group of your interest, stay active, and make friends. Community ties would be facilitated with such activities through social media. Next Door is a unique app that would help you to stay connected with your neighbors.

Join A Sports Team Or Gym:

The community sports complex is one of the strongest pillars of community engagement. Going to a gym and playing or supporting your favorite sport at your local community, facilities the chances of meeting new people of your kind, sharing a common interest. Kickboxing, yoga, bodybuilding, cycling, soccer, basketball, and cricket, all of these activities give a great networking opportunity.

Look For A Local Event Or Organize One:

Maybe you can come up with an excuse that mm No! I don’t have enough time and money to organize an event. But I suggest you give it another though differently. You can team up with some sponsors, some neighbors and throw a party or some art festival, Music night, maybe? And if you’re not convinced yet, go for the easiest option, look for some local event, and have fun enjoying it with new people, making new relations.

With little enthusiasm you can seek all those opportunities of getting involved in your community, waiting for you, just around the corner.

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How To Choose A School District Wisely When Moving To A New Community

When it comes to moving from one place to another, it can be quite complicated and distressing. For some families, it could be chaotic in all aspect starting from the house to move into, having to furnish the home, and more importantly, if you have a child or children, it would be more difficult to getting them the right school to settle into.

While it could be a time of adventure, it also comes with a lot of confusion. As such, I have decided to provide you with a guide that would ease you the stress that comes with selecting a school in a new environment. I want you to know that the quality of your child’s school is more important than what it would cost. All it takes is a little patience and some time.
The following are unusual steps to take to get your child(s) the best school in a new community.

• Inform Your Agent

This is the first thing to do when you are about to move to a new district. This is necessary so that the agent can be on the lookout for good schools alongside looking for a good house. The truth is that these agents are more familiar with the surroundings. They have other clients that have their children in some of these schools and could help you with asking around.
At this point, you should not allow your agent to choose for you. All you need them to do is to provide you with a list of the best schools around say about 3 -5 schools for you to make your choice from. Always remember the final decision is yours to make

• Search The Internet

While your agent is on the search for these schools, you should not relent in your search also. Take time out to carry out your research for the best school in that community. Certain parameters should guide your choice of school such as there academic and professional qualifications, the number of students that graduate every year, amount of time spent into the development of students, etc.

• Visit The Schools

The next thing to do is to visit the schools on your list physically. The intention behind this is to determine if these schools are who they claim to be. Do they have the best learning environment? Are they well equipped? Are the teachers the professionals they claim? Personally, for me, I would prefer you prepare the questions beforehand. Take time out to interact with the teachers and administrative officers. Ensure you know the goals and objective of the school. Do they align with what you are looking for? If they do, then that is the school you are looking for, and if not, you keep looking till you find the best choice.

Keep it in mind that you should not by any means choose any school because of pressure. Take your time out to look for the best school for your children. Remember it is the future of your children we are talking about.

Watch this for more information:

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