You catch up with friends on Facebook, check in on Foursquare and tweet on Twitter. But, do you have an online library account?
I'm always surprised when I talk to people about their online life - sure, they mention all the biggies: Facebook, Twitter, which blogs they follow, or where they post reviews.
But when I ask them if they have an online library account -- blank stares. A what? Heck, I've met people who admit they don't even have a library card, much less an online account.
Well, if you fall in one of the following groups, you'd definitely benefit from one:
1. Anyone in Business
From entrepreneurs to those working in corporate America - your online account will give you access to tons of business information via the library's online databases - company reports, industry surveys, local business stats, etc.
Anything you need for that next proposal or the last minute question that your boss just asked, right at your fingertips!
2. Anyone Who Teaches Anything
Because you know that someday, someone will ask you something that you have no answer for - but given your drive to impart knowledge (and encourage inquisitiveness in others), you will be thrilled to have a place to do some quick research, or request a book on the topic.
3. All Parents of Toddlers and Preschoolers
From the time your kids are walking until they go to school, you will never have a free second to pick out a book for yourself! So, you can use your online account to request your favorite books/movies and have them waiting for you when you get to the library for story-time each week.
Oh yeah, your brain also turns to mush when you have kids so that online account allows you to quickly put in a request when your friend tells you about this amazing book he/she just read; you know, the one you'll forget about by the time your next library visit rolls around.
4. All Parents of Older Kids (who always seem to forget things)
When you find that note stuffed in the bottom of your child's backpack about the book report due next week, you'll be able to check the availability of the book in all libraries within driving distance - saving you gas and sanity.
5. Environmental Stewards
Online accounts mean you read the newspaper online, borrow books/movies/books-on-tape instead of buying - all helping you to keep true to the values of reusing items (and saving lots of trees).
6. Anyone Who Travels
Before you head out to someplace new, you can request travel materials and books-on-tape for your trip.
Or maybe you need to learn some of the language before you get there? Try the online language learning programs, such as Mango or Rosetta Stone, available through the library. And while you're on vacation, you can renew those books that you forgot to return before you left.
7. Old Movie Buffs
Let's face it, no matter how hard you look, Netflix and Blockbuster just don't carry every Cary Grant/Doris Day/Jimmy Stewart film that you want to see. But with Inter-library Loan Services, some library somewhere in the world WILL have the movie you've been dying to see (you might just have to wait a week to get it :)
8. Anyone with a Busy Schedule
As much as I love browsing the shelves to see what's new, my schedule sometimes doesn't allow that - which is why I love the convenience of being able to request the materials I want and pick them up quickly.
9. Those Researching their Family History
Access to marriage/birth/death/public records, genealogy databases, online searches and brilliant librarians who can help you track down your great-great-great grandfather.
10. Anyone who might need some Free Meeting Space
Yep, most libraries have meeting rooms and study rooms available for use by their patrons. If you have an online account, you'll be able to put in a request and reserve the room.