Grand Rapids Public Library adapts to new community needs

Courtesy /

Courtesy /

Mackenzie Keller, Staff Writer

The Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) continues to prove to the public that libraries have yet to go out of style. With an expansive collection of books and a growing online database, the library is still one of the greatest resources a public resident can have.

With the massive growth of the internet, many people have begun to find all of their information from the comforts of their own homes. Their library cards sit around collected dust as a vast collection goes unused.

To combat this change, the library has begun to go digital. Databases are backed up online and can easily be accessed with a GRPL card. Their website also promotes several free streaming apps, which can be downloaded on iOS or Android.

Among these apps are Hoopla, Lynda and Mango Languages. Hoopla is a streaming app that offers comics, music, movies, television shows and audiobooks. Lynda features a collection of video tutorials to teach new skills at the pace of the user. Mango Languages is an engaging platform that offers more than 70 different languages to learn.

Even as surrounded by electronics as we are, some people are not as tech savvy as others. The library also hosts free computer training classes, some on a weekly basis while others are a one-time class. Among these classes are Basic Computer Skills, Exploring Social Media and Email, Cutting Cable and even an intro workshop on how to use Lynda.

The slides and handouts from previous classes are posted on the library’s website for those unable to attend, and are free for anyone to access, even without a GRPL card.

In addition to workshops, the library hosts a plethora of other activities; including Baby & Me Storytimes, Bilingual Pajama Time and Mindstorm Saturdays. These events and more bring together the children of the community and open their minds to the depths of the library.

Community members are also encouraged to participate in the Friends of the Library Booksale coming up the last weekend of March. Used books will be on sale in bundles, three for $1 or a full bag for $5. All proceeds go to support the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Though the Grand Rapids Public Library is modernizing to keep up with the times, there are plenty of experiences that one can only get at a library that will never become obsolete.