The power of a library card can open doors to new worlds, even those that lie outside the pages of a book.
The Fort Smith Public Library offers a variety of free services for all ages. Here are a few you may not know.
Streaming and downloading
With four different streaming and download services, readers and moviegoers can find their next favorite for free on the library’s website, www.fortsmithlibrary.org.
“A real popular service is called Hoopla,” said Diane Holwick, deputy director of the Fort Smith Public Library. “What it does is it offers all kinds of stuff with your library card – audiobooks, e-books, comics, music, movies… TV shows. They’re for all ages.
The service can be accessed from a computer or phone by creating an account with your library card.
“What’s really popular about Hoopla is that you can get anything you want right now. You don’t have to wait for it. There is no catch. You don’t need to put something on hold because someone else has it checked.
Other services include Kanopy, Library2Go, and TumbleBook Library.
Educational resources for children
Children glued to their devices can learn while having fun with digital educational resources available on the library’s website.
The TumbleBook library is “like the picture book, but they animated it, and it reads, and there are different age levels,” Holwick said.
Another popular resource is ABC Mouse, an online program for children ages 2 to 8. Parents or guardians will need to create an account with a library card.
“That includes the Disney stuff, some Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic Kids stuff, so a lot of big name entertainment book titles,” Holwick said.
With the onset of the pandemic, the library began to organize virtual events. Staff do not plan to resume regular in-person programming “until the county’s covid level is not substantial or high,” Holwick said.
A popular story series features Miller branch manager Tiffany DeVries reading to animals on YouTube.
“It’s very popular because they’re always pretty funny because something usually goes wrong,” Holwick said.
Annual Library Book Sales cater to a wide range of readers with unique finds and affordable prices.
The upcoming sale, which will take place on the library website from December 6 to 12, presents rare and vintage books. A list of available titles will be released on December 3, Holwick said.
“I think it’s all going from $ 5 to $ 100 or something,” Holwick said. “It depends on what it is. There are older older publications. There are art books or things that we would like to get over $ 1 for in our regular book sale that go into our vintage sale.
The Barbara Walker Genealogy and Arkansas History Collection presents a wealth of resources for those interested in learning more about their family history. It is located on the second floor of the Main Library, 3201 Rogers Ave.
“It’s kind of a fame for the area,” said Holwick. “It’s something that a lot of people get involved in, discovering their family. ”
Online Resources include Heritage Quest and African American Heritage.
“We have Ancestry.com, but you have to do it through the library,” Holwick said. “They won’t let you have it from your house, but we have birth certificate records, death records from Fort Smith.” There is all kinds of genealogy department stuff, so you can explore the website and see what’s available.
Free holiday fun
This year, the library transformed its annual holiday open house into the week of end-of-year holidays, which took place from December 12 to 18.
Winter bingo, another holiday activity, is open to all ages from December 1 to January 8.
“You can get a bingo card at any location… it’s things like ‘read a favorite’, ‘watch a library video,’ one of them tells you. [that] you can fill in a square if you pat the head of the statue at the Miller branch library, ”said Holwick. “Her name is Gardenia and she is a pig. There are different things you can do that are related to the library. When you play bingo, you can return your card and you can participate in a raffle.
How to get a library card
To purchase a free library card, those living within the city limits of Fort Smith must bring proof of address to any library location:
- Main Library, 3201 Rogers Ave.
- Dallas Street branch, 8100 Dallas St.
- Miller branch, 8701 South 28th St.
- Windsor Drive branch, 4701 Windsor Drive
Children aged 5 and over may receive a card, and those under 16 must have a parent or guardian signature.
“If you live outside of the city limits, there’s a $ 35 out of town card,” Holwick said. “The reason we’re doing this is that the people who live within the city limits of Fort Smith pay property taxes that go to this library. The people who live in Sebastian County, but not in Fort Smith, pay property taxes, but they don’t come to us. They go to the Sebastian County Library System.
“That being said, we don’t give anyone at the door a badge to enter the library and attend our programs when we have them,” she said.
Through traditional services such as book checking and free interlibrary loan, as well as community events such as Week of Holiday Cheer, “we hope people have a chance to check out and see what we have. “said Holwick.
For more information about this service or any of the Fort Smith Public Library services, programs or events, call 479-783-0229 or visit www.fortsmithlibrary.org.
Catherine Nolte is a member of the corps for Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Southwest Times Record and Report for America are working to place a new generation of journalists in community news organizations across the country. Are you supporting this effort today?