Beat the Economic Blues at the Chicago Public Library

The Chicago Public Library has come up with inexpensive and fun ways to help support their child's education. These programs and resources are fun, educational and FREE for everyone who has a library card (which is free to all Chicago residents).

These include:

FREE Wi-fi

Music Downloads

Movie Rentals

Audio Book Rentals (they have this VERY VERY cool thing they call a "Takeaway" – it looks like an iPod but it's pre-loaded with a complete audio book)

Free meeting space (community groups, small businesses)

Educational kids' activities

More activities organized by age: from for pre-schoolers through high school

· "Backpacks" - Kids (with parents) check out the backpack and includes everything the kids need to explore. The first two items are for pre-schoolers

· Language Development Backpack. The Language Development Backpack was created to support early childhood literacy. Included in the backpack are books, alphabet blocks and word games. All of the contents of this backpack promote word recognition and phonics building.

· Mother Goose Backpack (Recipe for Fun). The backpack includes a "First Mother Goose" book, Mother Goose building blocks and one cassette of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. This back pack was created to introduce young children to phonics and promote word recognition through visuals and audio.

· Environment –CPL's "Bird Watching Backpack" – This backpack (which kids check out all together) contains everything a child would need to go bird watching. It has books on various types of birds, binoculars, informational cards that include information various types of birds and it also includes an audio bird identifier. Children can use this gadget to identify birds by the type of sounds they make.

· Science Chicago – Science Chicago takes place throughout the fall at various library branches and talks about the value of science and math education. CPL actually has a resident scientist that runs this. It's a very hands-on program – not just about the books.

· Teen Volume – This is for high school students. Developed to engage teens and increase literacy amongst the teen population, Teen Volume is a series of programs designed for teens by teens. Teen Volume offers teen Money Smart (financial literacy) Programs, Reading Lists, Book Discussions, Reader's Theater Programs, Creative Writing Workshops and Author Visits. The visual elements here are mostly books, but CPL has a Teen Volume Advisory Council and one of the teenagers could perhaps be part of the segment.

· College Students – CPL believes that most college students get their educational needs fulfilled at their academic libraries, so the CPL is there for entertainment. CPL has more than 11,000 movie titles, thousands of CDs and downloadable music and audio books. All are FREE with a CPL library card (which is also free!). Lots of great visuals here including newly released DVDs, Playaways (a portable audiobook, the size of a deck of cards), newly released CDs and possibly an iPod to translate the downloadable media

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