Free Content Jackpot: the Local Library

I’m not sure when the light went off in my head – maybe it was when I realized I had purchased a book that I later decided I hated.  Why pay $16 or more for a paperback that sucks and then give it away or put it out in the front yard in a box marked “Free?”  You can get all the books you need – for free – at the library!

I grew up around the corner from the main branch of my hometown’s public library.  I practically lived there during the summers.  It’s not like the concept of a library is something new to me.  I guess I just got lazy.  Well now I’m a mom, and there are many things I’m lazy about, but spending less money is not one of those things.  Plus, bringing my kids to the library is a great way to a) kill time b) mess up someone else’s place instead of my house and c) teach them about books, responsibility, and public manners.

I have learned that I can’t look for books for myself when my boys are with me because they are still small and need my supervision, but never fear.  During the years when I was foolishly buying books at overpriced big box stores instead of using the library, the system miraculously modernized their functions and now I can simply go online, select the book I want, tell the library which location is convenient for me, and then soon I get an email that says “Ding!  Your book’s ready!”  And I just drive to the local branch and pick it up.  And if the book’s a stinker, well, some other sucker gets to check it out after I’m done.

Imagine my delight when I visited the Agoura Hills Public Library for the first time.  In a building that also houses the civic center and city hall, the library complex is a tasteful Craftsman-style bungalow.  A giant, sprawling bungalow.  The interior is calm and organized, with a spacious rotunda with tiny benches in the children’s section.  Several private conference rooms are available for use by reservation.  The staff is patient and kind, you know, like love.  And…there’s plenty of parking.  Ah, the suburbs.

[photo from City of Agoura Hills website]

Crack Open The Acorn Every Thursday

acornI’ve worked in Agoura Hills on and off for many years, so even before we moved here in June I knew about The Acorn.  It’s a weekly newspaper that is delivered to every household in Agoura Hills – for free – on Thursdays.  Since we canceled our daily subscription to The Los Angeles Times, I look forward to The Acorn delivery with gusto.  Who knows what crimes will be published in “The Blotter” this week?  What locals will be feverishly protesting the Water District’s pay raises in Letters to the Editor?  What photos of cute children at last weekend’s community festival will grace the pages within?  (One week, it was my child.  Of course.)

We have learned about local events, recycling drop-offs, traffic closures, sales, and general news from our immediate community from The Acorn.  This week our copy was soaked through to the very middle pages because our sprinklers went off after it hit our driveway.  I was very sad about this, because reading the newspaper online just isn’t the same.  Fortunately, there are some unoccupied houses in our neighborhood, so I can snag a dry copy from one of them.

It’s Fun To Play at the YMCA

YMCAI’ve never belonged to a YMCA before, but this year I was moved to join because it was the only organization that offered affordable swim lessons for the boys at a time that accommodated our schedule.  You can buy a full membership or a cheaper membership that allows you to enroll in various programs, aptly named a “program membership,” which is what we bought for each kid.  Now that summer is over and after-school activities are all the rage, I’ve dipped a tentative toe in the busy pond by enrolling Kid 1 in a weekly fitness class for kids called Children F.I.R.S.T.  It’s an hour-long session of learning about their bodies, doing fun exercises, and games that help build self esteem.  Soccer or martial arts can wait until next year.

YMCA of Southeast Ventura County 805-497-3081