Libraries aren’t dead.
You might think that if you haven’t paid a visit since your last research project in school. Sure, they have faced some new challenges in the 21st century, but they are still a wonderful place for learning and community building.
Who can benefit from a public library?
Everyone, of course.
Take the kids
The library is a safe place for children to explore. If it’s their first visit, they’ll likely be enchanted by the sheer number of books. And once they understand that they can actually take home those that they like, they’ll be hooked.
For younger children, programs range from storytimes to special crafts and activities. It’s an engaging environment that helps kids expand their horizons. Even without a screen handy.
Programs for tweens and teens help promote interest in learning in general, not just reading. Boca’s Downtown Library, for example, has a Discovery Studio dedicated to learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) topics.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids occupied and you need a break from the heat, the library is an educational and affordable option.
Explore for yourself
Many of the benefits that extend to children also apply to adults. The library can help you explore new topics or indulge in your interests.
And it’s not your grandfather’s library. Boca’s public libraries (including the Palm Beach County system) provide access to a variety of e-books and audiobooks. There are also great programs for adults.
For example, the PBCL locations provide computer training for adults. They cover basics like email, but they also have programs for learning about devices (iPads, Android phones, Kindles, etc.) and advanced programs like Photoshop.
And if you’re interested in new technologies like 3D printing, the Discovery Studio provides access to adults as well.
Libraries also host events like readings, book clubs, and other special occasions if you are looking for a new and inexpensive way to spend a morning, afternoon, or evening in Boca.
What are the best libraries in Boca Raton?
Living in or around Boca means you have access to a variety of libraries. Depending on your specific location, you might not be able to check out books from every branch, but you definitely have options.
Boca Raton Public Libraries
The BRPL includes two locations: the Downtown Library at 400 NW 2nd Avenue and the Spanish River Library at 1501 NW Spanish River Boulevard. Both locations are here to serve you with traditional resources and digital media.
According to their mission statement, “The Boca Raton Public Library provides quality library services and resources necessary to meet the educational, recreational, cultural, business, and other information needs of its users. The Library is committed to provide information in all appropriate formats and shall select and organize its resources to benefit persons of all ages and abilities.”
Residents of Boca Raton enjoy free access to both locations with a library card. All you need to do is sign up with a photo ID and proof of residency. If you live outside city limits, you’ll have to pay an annual fee ($150 for individual or $250 for family). But with so many resources available, membership could easily pay for itself.
Palm Beach County Libraries
A great option for those not living within city limits is the PBCL system, which has 17 locations throughout Palm Beach County. In Boca Raton, we have the West Boca Branch at 18685 State Road 7 and the Glades Road Branch at 20701 95th Avenue South.
The PBCL has a host of services and programs, including their Writers LIVE! Reading series and Live Homework Help program. At each branch, you can enjoy free Wi-Fi and access many additional resources and classes.
A free library card is available to those living in The Palm Beach County Library District, which is essentially the unincorporated areas of the county. Check with the library to find out if that’s you. If not, an annual membership is just $95. You can sign up at any branch with a Florida driver’s license or other proof of residency.
Florida Atlantic University Libraries
If you really want to step up your library game, you’ll want to check out the five-story treasure trove at FAU. It’s an inspiring place to do research with access to many more printed resources than you’ll find at the public libraries.
The great news is that you don’t have to be an FAU student to use the library. Former and current students and faculty get access, of course, but so do members of the BRPL and PBCL through the Southeast Florida Information Network.
There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on site and plenty of computers to help with your search. Of course, it will be busier in the fall and spring semesters, but it’s still a quiet, peaceful place to read or do other work.
Because of that, it’s probably not the best location for young children. But it could serve as inspiration for your young, more mature, scholars.
We spend lots of time discussing the beautiful scenery, excellent restaurants, and exciting entertainment available here in Boca. But we aren’t slouches when it comes to academic resources either.
If you’re ever looking to stretch your mind muscle a bit, or you just want to get a little guidance on the latest technology, the public library is the place to be. Let me know about your most recent visit to the library. Because reading is one of my favorite activities, I’m always looking for great book recommendations.
Marc Jablon, the Jablon Team