Pro Tip: Denver Public Library

arthur-libraryHello, my name is Monica and I’m a library-aholic.

Not that I need a help group, but yes, some would say I have a slight addiction to Mr. Melvil Dewey’s Decimal System. I venture to the Corky Gonzalez branch at least twice a week and walk out of there looking more and more like Gus Gus from Cinderella with a stack of books, CDs, and DVDs under my chin. The librarians don’t know my name…yet, but they definitely recognize me.

For some of you, the last time you walked into a library may have been when it was attached to your grade school. However, this occasionally forgotten institution can help you escape the dog days of summer, give you access to days and weeks of free entertainment, and will certainly give you something to chat about at that next vegan pop-up community brunch.

Peep the list below for the reasons why I LOVE the library and feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section.

1.  They have more than just books.

Yes, that’s what the library is known for but I constantly walk out with new releases of everything. Whether it’s new seasons of my favorite shows or the recent hit at Sundance, the library has it. Forget having to wait until things hit Netflix or Amazon Prime – go check out Mr. Robot, Green Room, and/or The Walking Dead for FREE. Music-wise? No, they don’t just have Kenny G or the Jurassic Park soundtrack. Recently, I got the new Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Dr. Dog, and Grimes CDs from my local library without having to spend a dime! Although all the branches have a collection, the main branch has an entire room dedicated to the latest documentaries, new releases, CDs, and TV shows. And given that the checkout limit for all DVDs/CDs is 50 (seriously), feel free to GO WILD!

2.  Digital, digital, digital.

Not a fan of carrying around that new 1,000-page George R.R. Martin book? No problem. You can check out library books for your Kindle, iPad, and/or computer through the library as well. Recently, I checked out Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and looked like quite the weirdo on the light rail laughing to myself on my iPad. Checkouts are up to 21 days and you can read 20 books at a time (!!!) Also included in the digital library are magazines, music, and movies. Pro tip: Make sure to check out their new music section, Volume: A Local Music Project, which features tons of local Colorado bands, such as Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Glass Hits, and Danielle Ate the Sandwich.

3.  Join a club or try a class!

Already forgot your login info for MeetUp? Don’t want to pay $50 to drink wine and paint? Snag a copy of Engage, the monthly 8-page magazine that features upcoming classes, clubs, film series, and concerts happening at the various library branches. In July, learn how to start that summer garden you’ve been putting off, drop in on a “No Strings Attached” book club, and/or start your new novel at one of their writing workshops (there’s a good chance I’ll also be creeping in the back row). Events can also be viewed/searched online.

4.  Shop online and pick it up later.

Most workdays I don’t have hours (unfortunately) to kill browsing books + music at the actual library so I put 99.9% of my things on hold. Every week, I check out the new releases and recommended lists, put a hold on the items I want, and then get super stoked when I receive an email that the items are available. If something you want is in stock but at another library—don’t worry, the librarians got yo’ back. They’ll send it over to your branch and put your name on it to be picked up in 7 days. It’s seriously the bee’s knees.

So this summer, dust off that ole library card and visit one of Denver’s 26 library branches…your mind (and your middle school librarian) will thank you.

Written by Monica Arevalo, Dear Denver guest contributor. Monica is a Phoenix native but has called Denver home for the past four years. When Monica isn’t at home watching Netflix or reading a book, she’s at a concert losing her voice and dodging elbows to get to the front of the stage.