Update your mental software for free at a King County library

What’s your biggest challenge for the New Year? Cutting costs? Writing that report? Updating your resume? The information you need is available at your library.

What’s your biggest challenge for the New Year? Cutting costs? Writing that report? Updating your resume? The information you need is available at your library.

Maybe you want to try something different, something more active, more interesting or more fun. Would you like to learn how to play an instrument? Groom the cat? Go camping in the snow? Whatever you want to do, your library has answers, tips and how-to guides to help you start—or finish—your project successfully.

But what if you don’t know what you want. How can you ask for something you can’t describe? That’s an even better reason to begin at the library. Give your imagination free rein. Your public library is a mega-mall for ideas, where you and your whole family can shop any time for something new. Each of you can carry home a whole bag of new ideas, music, or movie CDs, all free of charge.

Choose your strategy:

• Take the direct approach. Go to the library and ask a librarian to help you find a specific item, or to recommend a book similar to something you’ve already enjoyed.

• Try random chance. Pick a shelf and see what’s there. If nothing sparks your interest on that shelf, try another area. Be sure to browse the “New Books” or “Choice Reads” displays.

• Invest half an hour or so exploring the library’s collection online, in the library or from your home computer at www.kcls.org. You can search by subject, author, character or format. If you’d like a movie on DVD, limit your search format to DVD/video.

• If you’re in a hurry to have an item you want, see if it is available as a digital download. Ask, or from the front page of the Web site, scroll to the “Browse For” section and click on downloads. Pick something interesting and download it onto your own player, or find a player or playaway title and borrow the player and content too.

• If you’re REALLY in a hurry for the latest, best information, find it online by searching the databases. Need financial data for an investment? Click the white DATABASES key on the front Web page and click on the Subject heading “Business, Economics and Investing.”

Sample anything that catches your eye. Even if you aren’t sure it’s what you want to read, give it a try. It doesn’t cost a thing to check it out. You don’t have to finish reading all the books you take home! The important thing is to explore the possibilities, and to try something new and interesting.

Here are a few intriguing items discovered in a recent random search:

• “The beginner’s guide for the recently deceased: a comprehensive travel guide to the only inevitable destination” is listed under humor/metaphysical.

• Among more lively topics, a search of winter sports yielded “Curling for Dummies.” Keyword birdhouse yielded 15 titles including 12 how-to guides and a DVD on skateboarding (by Birdhouse Skateboards).

Need a laugh? Inspiration? Adventure? A glimpse into a possible future, or an in-depth scrutiny of the past? Fact, fiction or fantasy, you’re sure to find something that will lift you out of the winter doldrums, carry you through the post-holiday pinch, inspire you to meet a new challenge, or simply find thought-provoking answers to life’s persistent questions.