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The Modern Library Cool Resources You May Not Know About

By John Rodgers


Now that the Summer Reading program has ended and students are back in school, some people might think the local public library no longer belongs on their list of places to continue visiting. “It’s just the building with books, right? The school library has books.” Maybe so, but public libraries aren’t what they used to be (for starters, nobody’s going to greet visitors with a “Shhh!”).

From computer access and wireless printing to sewing machines and robotics that can be checked out and taken home, here’s a brief rundown of some modern resources available at Sequoyah Regional Library System (SRLS).


1. Explore 3D Printing

Each SRLS library has a 3D printer. Want to have something printed to keep? Submit a printing request either online or inside the library to get started. Library staff at each location have a variety of 3D-printed items on display to admire, and visitors can even view the printer in action to learn how the process works.

There’s a small fee to keep the printed item(s), but library staff will mention the price beforehand, and items are significantly cheaper than the knick-knacks available elsewhere. Library patrons who created custom-designed 3D models in Tinkercad can bring their creation to life using the 3D printer at the library as well.


2. Access e-Library Services

Most people are aware that the library has e-books and audiobooks that can be checked out to their e-reader or mobile device, but the list of e-library services expands far beyond that. Anyone with a library card can use Ancestry to piece together his/her family tree, take free and easy courses to learn over 70 languages with Mango, or prepare for a trip abroad with the comprehensive country-by-country database A-to-Z World Culture.

Teenagers can even find practice driving tests, and those looking to save money on magazine subscriptions can use Flipster to read the latest issues of more than 20 magazines including Southern Living, National Geographic, and Us Weekly from the comfort of their own devices.


3. Enjoy Experience Passes

What’s the best thing about having a library card? It’s a huge money-saver, and SRLS offers passes for free or reduced-price admission to local museums, parks, and other cultural institutions. These include passes for Zoo Atlanta, more than 60 state parks and historic sites, Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and a variety of other local museums.

Ask the front desk library staff about any particular pass, which can be checked out using a library card — just like books. Don’t schedule a family trip or weekend getaway without first exploring which Experience Passes are available at the library.


4. Appreciate Accessibility for All Readers

Everyone deserves to enjoy the local library, including people with disabilities. Ask a librarian about Georgia Library Service (GLS) for the Blind & Print Disabled. This service promotes the use of assistive technology and provides accessible reading materials to those who are unable to read standard print due to a disability.

Anyone who is unable to read or handle standard-printed materials, is legally blind or cannot see well enough to read standard print (even with glasses), is unable to hold or turn pages of print books, or is certified by a medical doctor as having a reading disability is eligible for GLS. Assistive toolkits are also available to take home.


5. Check Out the Library of Things

Again, libraries have so much more than just books. The Library of Things is a collection of nontraditional items that can be borrowed by anyone looking to explore, learn, and create. These include board games, puzzles, kendama, digital microscopes, mini-robotics called Cubelets, and other technology.

Take home a sewing machine from the library to work on a project, or check out a ukulele or other musical instrument. Need a computer? Borrow a Google Chromebook to browse the internet, catch up on homework, or work wherever and whenever, at no cost! After all, why buy when it can be borrowed using a library card?


6. Grow With Seed Libraries

In partnership with the Master Gardeners in Cherokee County, SRLS features seed libraries at the Rose Creek, Hickory Flat, and Ball Ground locations. Seed libraries are free and allow visitors to “check out” vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. At the end of the growing season, seed borrowers are welcome to return seeds from their successful plants to the library. This ensures that the library contains seeds that will be healthy in the local growing environment.



To quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, “Uh, well, there it is.” Public libraries have so much to offer that visitors can find endless things to do each week without even touching a single book. These amazing resources (and more) are free and offered year-round. Stay connected with SRLS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or by visiting