When February rolls around each year, our attention focuses on the objects of our affection. As you celebrate all of the things you "love," take a few seconds to discover these 20 ways to enjoy your library, too.
1. Bring your children to storytime. Nothing compares to a good story told by a trained storyteller, and local libraries are staffed with some of the best storytellers in town. Check your nearest library location for the dates and times in which they host storytimes.
2. Borrow a recently released movie on DVD. Don't let the battle between Netflix and Blockbuster get you down. Your library card lets you borrow DVDs from your library at no charge.
3. Ask a reference question. No question is too big or too small -- the reference librarians love to seek out answers to your questions.
4. Discover the area's rich local history. Step back in time through the resources offered in the Beaufort District Collection. The BDC contains a wealth of items focusing on Beaufort history, culture and environment. Track its blog at www.beaufortdistrictcollectionconnections.blogspot.com to stay informed about the latest local history happenings.
5. Set up your laptop and work at one of our study tables. Knock out that tough assignment when you connect your laptop to our free Wireless Internet hot spot.
6. Borrow a book through SC LENDS. Beaufort County libraries are members of SC LENDS, a consortium of libraries throughout South Carolina. Because all SC LENDS libraries share one catalog, Beaufort County Library cardholders have access to more books, DVDs, music CDs and audiobooks than ever before.
7. Stay informed about local and national news. Browse the collection of magazines and newspapers to keep informed of events, news and media. Local library branches have a broad selection of local and national periodicals to keep you abreast of all the news that's fit to print.
8. Join a book group. For readers who like to discuss books with other readers, each of the five library branches offers vibrant book clubs you can join. Browse book discussion groups on the "Book Club Corner" page on the library's website.
9. Enroll in free computer classes to learn how to use a computer. Our computer labs on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton are always offering free computer classes. Sign up well in advance as the classes often fill up quickly.
10. Delve into a DIY project. Need a little help jump-starting that weekend project you've been delaying? Libraries have a selection of do-it-yourself books and videos to guide you through your next handyman project. Crafters of all kinds will find the "Home Improvement Reference Center" database helpful. Your library card number is your access code to this and many more online resources under the "Research Resources" section of the library's website.
11. Special Events throughout the year to keep you entertained. Each month, libraries plan exciting events for children, teens and adults. Find the complete schedule of events on the library's website or stop by your nearest library branch for more information.
12. Learn a new language with Byki. Before You Know It (Byki), our free online language learning software, offers a personalized way to learn a foreign language at an unbeatable price -- it's free to Beaufort County library cardholders.
13. Practice for an upcoming test. Ace your next test by using test prep books from your library. They have the latest on the ACT, SAT, GRE, GED, ASVAB and more. They also subscribe to Learning Express, an online test prep service you can personalize to fit your testing needs.
14. Connect to the community. A visit to the library often includes a friendly hello to a neighbor, colleague or friend. The county's libraries are fun places to connect with people.
15. Get tax forms. A limited supply of the most popular federal and state tax forms, instructions and publications are available to the public for free at Beaufort County library branches. Libraries also host free tax assistance at designated dates and times.
16. Use Consumer Reports. Consult the latest edition of Consumer Reports to read expert product reviews and recommendations on the latest electronics, appliances, cars and more.
17. Catch up on the classics. Although libraries place an emphasis on having best-sellers on hand for your reading pleasure, the shelves also are stocked with the who's who of authors from long ago. Consider reconnecting with a classic title from our collection.
18. Browse art exhibits. Have you noticed the various art displays and exhibits at our libraries? Our libraries often showcase talented local artists in our gallery spaces.
19. Check out the latest audiobooks and playaways for your listening enjoyment. Audiobooks are a must-have travel companion, and libraries are always adding new titles to their audiobook and playaway collections. Often narrated by award-winning actors, audiobooks provide a bold way to experience a story.
20. It's free. A Beaufort County Library card is your free ticket to education, entertainment and life enrichment. It costs nothing for you to get a card, but the benefits are priceless. Why delay? Use your library card today.
Amanda Brewer is a reference librarian at the Beaufort branch library.