Libraries serve up more than books; they dish out a generous helping of activities, classes and programs designed to deliver lifelong learning. Just ask anyone who’s ever used a library to learn Italian, operate a computer or take a field trip for grown-ups.
These services — which are usually free or low-cost — are especially valuable now, according to Brenda Brown, manager at the Downtown Library in Chandler. “When people spend all their money on gasoline and can’t afford to take their family out every weekend, we see them coming into the libraries. They’re great entertainment on a budget,” she says.
East Valley libraries offer up a smorgasbord of air-conditioned options for children and adults this summer, from reptile exhibits and puppet shows to Japanese drum performances and singles outings. See what’s on the menu by checking each library’s online events calendar; Web site addresses are given below, as is a taste of the season’s specials.
TEMPE PUBLIC LIBRARY
3500 S. Rural Road, (480) 350-5500 or www.tempe.gov/library
• If you’re looking to land a new job, three how-to sessions could make you a better job hunter.
“We’ve noticed a lot of people coming in lately to do online applications and résumés. With the economy and the job market the way it is, we put together a program that answers all those job-hunting-in-the-21st-century questions,” says librarian Tracy Hokaj.
Experts from Rio Salado College will present the 90-minute classes, which address the following topics:
How to Build a Résumé, June 9 and July 14
Interviewing Skills, June 16 and July 21
Online Applications, June 23 and July 28
• WHR R U? PLZ DNT B L8! If you’re too old to decode this message, help is on the way.
“We have a program called Tech Trends, and it’s for adults to learn about instant messaging, texting, blogging, iTunes — all the stuff their kids are doing,” says Hokaj. There’s even a pre-class quiz to test your text-ciphering skills. Last summer, the popular session drew about 40 adults. Tech Trends Two is 7 p.m. July 10.
Both programs are free, but you must register in advance through Tempe Parks and Recreation, (480) 350-5277 or pkreconline.tempe.gov.
CHANDLER PUBLIC LIBRARIES
Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St., (480) 782-2800; Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive, (480) 782-2850; Hamilton Library, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., (480) 782-2828; Sunset Library, 4930 W. Ray Road, (480) 782-2840. Visit all three at chandlerlibrary.org.
From yoga and digital photo editing classes to pizza taste-offs and video game parties, Chandler’s four libraries offer a lot to keep kids busy. Two best bets:
• A happy wedding turns to a somber funeral throughout the course of “Til Death Do Us Part,” an interactive murder mystery for teens ages 12 to 18. Held at downtown’s Spanish colonial Inspirador event center, it’ll feel spooky from the get-go, and every child will wind up involved in the mayhem. 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. June 4 at Inspirador, 63 E. Boston St. Tweens can get in on the fun, too: “My Grandma’s Gonna Kill Me,” an interactive mystery for kids ages 9 to 11, is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 26. Registration is required at www.chandlerlibararyteens.org.
• The Teen Independent Film Festival gives kids ages 12 to 18 a chance to debut their filmmaking chops. Teens can enter their homemade DVD or VHS stop-action, Claymation, animation or live action movies until 5 p.m. June 13. The films will be shown 7 p.m. June 17 at Chandler Center for the Arts. Prizes will be awarded, and the first 25 entries will receive a Harkins Theaters gift pack. For an entry form and more information, visit any library branch or www.chandlerlibararyteens.org.
MESA PUBLIC LIBRARIES
Main Library, 64 E. First St., (480) 644-2207; Dobson Ranch Library, 2425 S. Dobson Road, (480) 644-3441; Red Mountain Library, 635 N. Power Road, (480) 644-3184. Visit all three at www.mesalibrary.org.
GILBERT PUBLIC LIBRARIES
Southeast Regional Library, 775 N. Greenfield Road, Gilbert; Perry Branch Library, 1965 E. Queen Creek Road, Gilbert. Reach both at (602) 652-3000 or www.mcldaz.org.
• When money’s tight, major remodels are out of the question. Learn to transform a room on the cheap with a can of paint. Representatives from Interiors by Decorating Den will provide ideas for wall color, fabric and accessories to beautify your space during a drop-by open house 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 9 at Southeast Regional Library.
• Ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, and you’ll rarely hear the answer, “A mime!” But teens ages 13 to 18 can see what it’s like to be a silent figure in black and white during the Introduction to Mime Theatre Workshop 3 p.m. June 18 at Southeast Regional Library. Teens will learn to act without words by using body language and creating illusions in this class from the Missoula Children’s Theatre and Gilbert Fine Arts Association. Sign in at the library at least 10 minutes prior to the program to get a space.
Queen Creek Branch Library, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road, (602) 652-3000 or www.mcldaz.org
Apache Junction Public Library, 1177 N. Idaho Road, (480) 474-8555 or www.ajpl.org
Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.; Arabian Library, 10215 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road; Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St.; Palomino Library at Desert Mountain High School, 12575 E. Via Linda, Suite 102. Reach all three at (480) 312-7323 or www.scottsdalelibrary.org.
• Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden was captain of The Magnificent Seven, the 1996 Olympic women’s gymnastics team. She’ll tell about how they won the U.S.’s first gold medal in the women’s team competition 6:30 p.m. June 26 at Civic Center Library.
• Running, biking, swimming: If you’re serious about all three, Triathlon 101 could be your window to the next level. Athletes from Scottsdale’s Triple Sports will introduce aspiring triathletes to the basics of triathlon competition 6:30 p.m. July 16 at Civic Center Library.
Events are free, but register in advance online or by phone.
Ed Robson Branch Library, 9330 E. Riggs Road, Sun Lakes, (602) 652-3000 or www.mcldaz.org