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Kids learning the ukele
Posted January 23, 2020 | 9:43 AM

Libraries: They're Not Just for Books Anymore

Make the library your first stop for everything from borrowing a ukulele to applying for a passport, and all things in between

A library card is your ticket to an array of free resources for knowledge, prosperity, and fun. Some of them might surprise you.

Many of these opportunities, like the card itself, are accessible at Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC.) You don't even need to step inside a neighborhood library to take advantage of many of its offerings.

Here's a sampling of things accessible at no charge through your library. There are more. Check the website for a complete rundown:

Borrow a ukulele and learn how to play it. Twenty ukulele kits, which include a soprano instrument in a case, a tuner, and an instructional book/DVD, are available. And check the HCPLC website for upcoming classes.

Grow your business with the help of information and tutorials. There are workshops, technology lessons, and databases for research and instruction. At some locations, rooms are available for meetings, along with collaborative workstations, whiteboards, and SMART boards.

Learn how to use a 3D printer. With the Tinkercad design software, you can design and print a prototype of your invention. Check the calendar on the HCPLC website for demonstrations of the software, and sessions about 3D printing.

Find out where your ancestors came from by using a variety of materials available in the Genealogy & History collection. You'll find online research tools, historic maps, past newspapers, and vintage photographs.

Apply for a U.S. Passport. Once you learn your heritage, you may want to visit the land of your ancestors. First time passport applicants can now apply at four regional library locations. Appointments are required, and you'll want to be sure you bring all the necessary paper work.

Record a song or do some other audio/video project in studios at John F. Germany and SouthShore Regional libraries. Cameras, green screens, microphones, and editing software are available.

Learn another language with Mango. Sign in as a guest on the HCPLC website. Enhance your grasp of Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Korean, or English.

Borrow audiobooks, digital magazines, and ebooks, and stream music with HCPLC Connect. The catalog allows you to search for a variety of online resources.

Free access to online courses on Lynda.com and Universal Class also are available. And the Discovery Pass provides free admission to select local museums and attractions. Look around the HCPLC website, or explore your local library in person. There's lots of things to do, see, and learn - at no charge.

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