A place to explore: Five reasons to join your local library this January - Irish Examiner
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A place to explore: Five reasons to join your local library this January - Irish Examiner

Join your local library for a world of knowledge, information and empowerment
Your local library is the first stop in your community for access to a wide range of literature, audio, film and television in physical formats, all available for borrowing for two weeks at a time, with Cork City Libraries, for example, allowing up to 12 items to be borrowed at once.
There’s bound to be something for you along the carefully-curated shelves, from the latest bestsellers and all-time classics to large-print versions, and works written especially for beginner adult readers. If you can’t find what you want, you can place a request with your librarian for a book to be sent in from another library, or acquired for you to borrow.
Access is also available to physical magazines, newspapers and journals, with some libraries playing host to deep archives of local and national media. 
And if streaming music and video is too much hassle, many local libraries have selections of music on CD, and films and telly on DVD - a free alternative to the big apps!

For the digitally native in your family, the library system also allows access to a number of apps and services to access eBooks, magazines, comics and audio, all with their membership.
Cork City Library alone provides members with access to BorrowBox for eBooks, Libby and PressReader for digital news and magazines - and even ComicsPlus, providing the comics fan in your family with access to free weekly and monthly access to digital copies on their phone or tablet. If history and research are within your interest, you can also access the Irish Newspaper Archive and Irish Times Archives.
Many local libraries will also provide online access to visual arts exhibitions, and provide access to streaming music services like Freegal and the Naxos classical music catalogue - while their own apps are a handy resource for searching availability of physical material or accessing digital content.

From the youngest of new readers to the eternally curious, your local library provides countless ways to expand your own knowledge or set a loved one on a path to furthering their interests.
Cork City Libraries’ ‘My Little Library Bags’, for example, are a ready-made starter kit of material for Junior Infants, entering big school and ready to read - and completely free to pick up where available. Right now, the service has special bags of leabhair beaga deasa for growing Gaelgóirs!

Cork City Libraries are happy to announce we have a limited number of My Little Library Bags as Gaeilge.

The My Little Library Book Bags as Gaeilge are packed with books, stories and fun.

Simply contact your local library to check for availability: https://t.co/Wi1rZxBOyJ pic.twitter.com/H3vh5yxCbE

Meanwhile, for adult learners, a library membership will provide access to a wide range of free educational courses, including courses from UniversalClass and music tuition from ArtistWorks, and access to JSTOR Ireland for Cork City Libraries.

Many local libraries will also make themselves available as cultural spaces for their local communities, from exhibition spaces for visual arts, or events spaces for music, readings and discussion panels, including local-interest events and initiatives like Grand Parade Library’s ‘Many Tongues of Cork’, which provides people the space to write, recite and react to poetry in a variety of languages from locally-resident writers.
But the library system, being part of the social fabric in this country, also provides a wide array of regular interest clubs, like the Mayfield library’s monthly kids’ videogames meetup, and the Hollyhill branch’s excellent adult music courses, as well as a selection of social outreach programmes - including the Grand Parade Library’s throwing open of the doors to families in Direct Provision and emergency accommodation, to receive special Christmas gifts from the community, as well as some priority facetime recently with Santy himself ahead of his big run on December 25.
For people of all ages and persuasions facing issues with literacy, employment, skills, and wellbeing, your local library can provide help and facilitation, including regular workshops, as well as scheduled access to the internet where necessary.
For the LGBT* community, Cork County Libraries have led the way, including opening their phone lines to the county’s transgender community to provide access, answer questions and update account information; and commissioning workshops for LGBT* young people to write work inspired by their own lived experiences. 
Cork County Libraries were also the first in the country to provide free access to sanitary products in-branch, in bathrooms, and other discreet locations upon inquiry.

It is one-hundred percent free to join your local library, and one membership gets you access to all of this, at any age, anywhere in the country.
In order to join the library, you need to complete an application form, either online or in person at the library. If you choose to submit the form online, you need to visit any library and produce photographic identification (who you are) and proof of current address (where you live) to activate your membership. You can join at any age.
Children and young people under the age of eighteen years must get the permission of a parent or guardian to join the library. Parents/guardians are responsible for their children in the library, their children’s selections, and use of library materials and services, including access to the Internet.
Please check with your local branch regarding access to specific services and access requirements, as well as upcoming events.

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