Beyond Books: 5 Perks of an Indianapolis Public Library Card

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Summer reading programs, storytime, special events, and books galore! Libraries are a treasure trove of amazing (and mostly free) content for kids, adults, and families alike. These amazing little cards give you access to up to 125 different library materials (if you’re over 17 years old) at a time, plus access to digital resources through Libby, Hoopla, Flipster, and Tumblebook if you live, work, or attend school in Marion County! While I’m confident most of us moms know about many of these resources, I thought I’d help the Indianapolis Moms community celebrate National Library Week by doing my research. This library champion uncovered a few lesser-known but equally beneficial library resources we could all utilize to make life a bit easier and more enjoyable. Here are my five favorite Indianapolis Public Library resources that go beyond the books!

Mango Language App

As an IPL cardholder, you can access the Mango Language Learning App to learn over 70 languages. Unlike many other apps available, Mango uses a conversational model to teach language and incorporates a high amount of cultural understanding. My children attend a Spanish immersion school, and I love the conversational format of this language-learning app while I’m learning Spanish. I want to support my kids in their language acquisition at home!  

LinkedIn Learning 

Are you looking to get back into the workforce after staying home with your kids? Are you thinking about a career change? Are you trying to expand your skills or polish up your knowledge of a particular subject? IPL has you covered! Through LinkedIn Learning, you have free unlimited access to 16,000 courses in multiple languages. My favorites include resume development, digital marketing, and education.    

Craft Tutorials

Before becoming a mom, I used to crochet all the time. A few months back, my oldest daughter found some of my crochet supplies and said she was interested in learning, too. Other than a few basic steps, I had completely forgotten a number of the more difficult crochet patterns I regularly used. We downloaded a crochet tutorial from Craftsy on Hoopla and worked through some patterns together. It was a lot of fun showing her how to turn yarn into something beautiful. Craftsy has classes on cooking, drawing, and sewing as well.

Book a Study Room

While I love working from home, being home all the time can get somewhat monotonous for me, especially during the winter. I love coffee shops and public spaces, but they don’t always give me the privacy and quiet I need when working. Booking a study room at your local library is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy your community, and get to see people. These spaces can also be reserved for students who need to study, for one-on-one tutoring, or even for a quiet space to do an online job interview.

Kanopy App at Home

I encourage my kids to get outside any chance they can, but let’s be honest, screen time can be an amazing tool to help kiddos stay occupied while busy parents work, get dinner ready, or relax for just a few. My youngest is on spring break this week while I am not, so on this very rainy day, I’m using one of my favorite screen time tools to be able to teach while she is home. With your IPL card, you have access to 30 rentals per month from the Kanopy app on any streaming service. Kanopy Kids is completely free all of the time, though, and has no limits! My kids love the storytime feature, which allows them to choose from hundreds of books made into digital shorts. Our personal favorites are Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Corduroy, and Chrysanthemum. Several stories are signed stories as well for those who are interested in learning ASL.  

My love for libraries runs deep and I would be remiss not to use my platform to encourage you to patron your local library if you are not currently doing so. From diving into the world of audio and ebooks on Libby, to learning how to cook a special meal from Craftsy, or immersing yourself in a new language, don’t miss out on the wealth of resources, learning, and enriching literature your library has to offer!

Don’t live in Marion County, that’s ok! Check out some of my favorite features from the libraries of other Indianapolis Moms writers below!

Avon Washington Township Library: Offers museum pass check out for 4 to the Indiana State Museum and Historical Sites. The Indiana State Museum currently has the Towers of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks exhibit through Mary 12th for all those Lego lovers out there!

Brownsburg Public Library: Offers binge boxes with movies and popcorn to take home and a kit that promotes physical activity for kiddos.

Carmel Clay Public Library: A state-of-the-art maker space is a patron favorite for the Carmel community! This library also features tons of STEAM events targeted to children ages 4-12, and a beautiful story walk for the whole family to enjoy. They also have the largest children’s book collection in the United States!

Fortville-Vernon Township Library: Two-for-one deal? As a Fortville resident, you can access the FVTL and the Hancock Library! For the last several years, the FVTL has offered an outdoor story time during the summer when many libraries take off for summer reading programs. It has music, activities, and sensory play to accompany the stories and is one of the best storytimes around!

Greenwood Public Library: The programming and children’s area at GPL is top-notch! They recently featured several Bluey-themed events for Read Across America week!

Hamilton East Library: This library has so many unique offerings! Their Movin’ and Groovin class is one of our personal toddler favorites, but the Ignite Studio is our favorite library feature. The Ignite Studio has kits, equipment, and a beautiful maker space to serve budding artists to master creators, and everyone in between.  

Hancock Public Library: This library is rated one of the “best places to work” in Hancock County! They offer an amazing service for busy moms. You can chat with a librarian and tell them what types of books you want for your kids. The youth librarians then pick a stack of books for you to take home and read with your kids—just like grocery pick-up for literacy!

Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library: Free museum pass check-outs for the Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana State Museum and Historical Sites, and the Indiana Historical Society. These passes would be particularly great for checking out Jingle Rails, Celebration Crossing, or Festival of Trees during the holiday season.

 

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Kelly DeCrane
Meet Kelly, the reigning chaos coordinator on the northeast side of Indy, where she navigates the adventures of marriage to the ever-patient Steve, corralling two amazingly energetic daughters, and doting on a sweet old pup. Kelly takes on the caffeinated world of school drop-offs before heading home to work as a virtual special education teacher. When not rescuing Barbie dolls or mastering bedtime negotiations, she's a familiar face at the local library, maxing out her library card and possibly attempting to conquer the entire children's section – blame that on the coffee jitters. In the kitchen, she's a culinary wizard, transforming mac 'n' cheese into gourmet magic that her children will of course refuse to ear. You'll often find her with a book in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, immersed in the enchanting worlds of fiction or grooving to the beats of the early 2000s. Kelly is your go-to gal for laughter, warmth, and a sprinkle of witty chaos. Cheers to the coffee-fueled adventures, the delightful rollercoaster of motherhood, and the incredible journey of being a special education teacher!

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