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How to Spend 30 Minutes (and More) … at a Campus Library

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I recently talked about all the great things you can do at a public library for free — such as reading magazines, checking out new books, watching movies and listening to music. Well, if you live near a college or university, it’s likely you can do all this and more at the campus library — and all for a very modest price.

What you might be wondering right now is, “If I already use my public library, why would I need to go to a campus library?” Probably the best answer to that is, “The special collections.” Most college and university libraries have at least a few special collections that are of interest to the general public. Some special collections are impressive due to the nature and scope of the materials contained therein — such as an extensive music collection. Others might align with your personal interests — such as a collection that supports genealogy research or one that focuses on geology, complete with samples and specimens.

For around $10 or $25, you can check out a limited number of books from the circulating libraries. Typically, having a borrower’s card also gives you access to using other materials (and facilities) on site. And sometimes you can get access to everything for free — many universities extend free circulation privileges to alumni and the spouses of faculty and staff. So be sure to check the library’s Web site for additional information.

While you’re on campus investigating the library, you should take some time to explore the other treasures your local college likely holds. There truly are many advantages to living in a college town. For example, among many other things, you’ll have ready access to:

  • Theater productions
  • Concerts
  • Lectures and readings
  • Campus galleries
  • Sporting events

And of course, there are lots of learning opportunities. You can take courses for credit, participate in lifelong learning programs and some colleges and universities even let you audit classes for free.

Have you ever taken advantage of the offerings of a local college or university?  And, if you live in one, what’s your favorite thing about residing in a college town?

While you’re thinking on that, don’t forget to follow How-to Stuff on Facebook and Twitter, download the HowStuffWorks iPhone app from iTunes and check out our new forums!

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