January is a little more than half gone. Did you make some New Year's resolutions back on January 1? How many of them are you sticking to? Guest blogger K.G. Wilkins reminds us that your public library is a great place to get the support you need to make those resolutions into reality (we've made just a few edits to make her advice fit San Antonio):
The tradition of starting the New Year right has been around for hundreds of years. Lately, it has sold lots of diet books and exercise equipment. We at the Library are ready for any resolution you might want to make - and at much less cost than the purchase of a new treadmill!
I will lose weight and get in shape: We have the popular diet books and cookbooks that go with finding a newer way to cook. We also have books and videos on exercise and yoga. Our OverDrive selections include e-books that you can read on your computer or portable devices (depending on the title and your device). [Editor's note: your local library might even have exercise classes. One San Antonio branch library offers tai chi, another, line dancing. To see what's available, call your branch library, check our online calendar of events, or pick up a copy of our "Bookmarks" quarterly calendar next time you visit your library.]
I will improve my computer skills: We have in-person instructors on a rotating basis at libraries throughout the system. Other branches offer practice sessions where you can get some personalized coaching from Library staff.
I will learn a language: We have books and CDs and online language courses that you can download from the OverDrive collection at the Library. And our librarians have developed a guide to help you find some of the best resources around - go here to see our recommendations.
I will travel more: We have lots of travel guides and public access computers if you want to shop for a better deal online. We even have a special online page to help you find new places to go and ways to get there. You can also come in and print out your e-ticket at the library from our public access computers or print out a map from Google or Mapquest for your driving vacations.
I will relax: We have books on stress management. We also have lots of music on CD that you can listen to. Exercise is a great way to work off stress, so don't forget all the library resources that can help you there. And don't underestimate the power of a good book to take you away from your daily cares. A lovely romance or an exciting suspense novel or a biography of a character that you admire can give you a regular way to de-compress.
I will do more with my children or grandchildren: Think of taking them to the library and helping them get library cards and visiting regularly. All San Antonio Public Library locations offer free story times and lots of special events through the year. Share the joy of reading and a few wonderful DVD movies and music. Your library card can make for some wonderful memories. (And, while it might not be exactly fun, you can help a struggling student by pointing him or her to our free online live homework help service, tutor.com.)
I will save money: Well, consider that you can check out a DVD, CD, audiobook or printed book free from the library any day. You can use the public access computers for free any day. We have free wi-fi for your laptop web-surfing, or for businesspeople to use if they need a place to work for a while. We also have books on saving money and investing for retirement - all free for you to use.
I will give back to my community: Systemwide, the San Antonio Public Library is used by more than 11,000 people a day. Donating to the San Antonio Public Library Foundation or joining the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library is a way to support our 900,000 plus library card-holders. Your gift will enhance every neighborhood and will support education and self-improvement. Happy New Year! May it be prosperous and healthy for us all.
Guest blogger K.G. Wilkins is a Children's Services Librarian at the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library.
Special thanks to the New Orleans Times-Picayune for allowing us to share Ms. Wilkins' article with our readers!