Living in LA, you will often find yourself living between 2 extremes: on one hand, wanting to be social, out and about and experiencing everything this city has to offer and on the other hand, enjoying the comfort of your own little smogless bubble. As an introvert, I often find myself at the latter end of the spectrum and It doesn’t help, they The Man is also in this camp. Which means, we may be raising a little introvert ourselves. We get out to parks with the dogs and I try to plan a few play dates each month for RJ, but more often than not, if I’ not running errands for the house, I’m inside of it and enjoying our space.
But with baby on board now, it’s not like I can just sit and watch Netflix and blog all day from the couch. Even before baby that wasn’t my MO. Now it’s all about creating a fun, playful, nurturing, and intellectually stimulating environment for my son. And seeing that I’m ballin’ on a budget, I like to find ways to do this at a premium, but with a price tag that looks more like free.99.
Which brings me back to this whole living in LA thing. This city never ceases to amaze me and one of the most surprising ways to date is through our amazing Public Libraries. Going in person is always a nice treat, but if you have a Los Angeles Public Library card, you also have your hands on a whole trove of entertainment and learning resources completely free to you and your family!
I didn’t know about these perks until a friend pointed me to this article in TimeOut. I immediately went and signed up for almost everything I could fit on my iPad. Since September is “Library Card Sign Up Month”, I want to share with you my top 3 Black Mama approved digital perks of having a Los Angeles Public Library card. These are all great for mama and babe to enjoy!
Sidenote: It’s been a while since I’ve had a library card in any other city, so I don’t know what the standard library card benefits are these days, but if your city ain’t putting it down like LA, it might be time to consider a move.
The Black Mama’s Top 3 LA Library Card Perks
Hoopla is a digital media library featuring TV shows, movies, Ebooks, audiobooks, and music all available to borrow straight to your tablet, and downloadable so they are available offline. It is also an app that is available through many libraries so check with your local branch to find out if your city/county offers access. I personally love digital books for RJ right now, because he’s really into ripping paper and chewing book binding (thanks new teeth) so having them on the iPad means he can’t do that and I won’t get any fines. He can easily “flip” through pages, and I have the added perk of being able to read to him in a dark room instead of keeping lights on while we’re winding down for bed.
If you don’t have Netflix, this is a great alternative service. Though you won’t be able to stream the high quality originals from Netflix, there are plenty of great movies and TV shows offered, and even some Kids Yoga programs which I can’t wait to do with RJ when he’s a bit older.
Titles rent for 15 days and return automatically meaning you don’t even have to think about late fees. This time around, i’ll be enjoying Tupac‘s greatest hits, checking out the sounds of Andra Day, getting my “Hustle” on with a book for entrepreneurs by Neil Patel, and comiserating of A**hole toddlers, thanks to one of my favorite bloggers Bunmi Laditan.
If you enjoy perusing through magazines, this is definitely the app for you and will keep your home free of clutter, as a magazine collector may know all to well what happens when they can’t read everything before the next issues come. I actually had the Zinio app long before I knew I could take advantage of the library’s free offerings. At the time, I would download the app’s monthly “free” titles, and I had a Nylon subscription back then. But, with my library card, I now have access to so much more. W, Family Circle, Los Angeles Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and even Thrasher Magazine! The Man was shockingly surprised that I could get Thrasher. He’s an avid skateboarder and fan and can’t wait to get our little guy on his own board.
What’s even better is that there are child friendly magazines available, too for those of you who have children interested in this easily digestible format. Y’all remember Highlights? RJ isn’t quite old enough to enjoy those like we used to in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, but there is also a baby friendly magazine, “Babybug”, which features illustrated short stories, rhymes, and other content you can read to your little one.
When I first started planning my maternity leaves, I had grandiose plans of learning a new language, Korean to be exact. So learning about the Mango app was a godsend. Of course, back then, I had time to iron and do housework at a leisurely pace while completing my lessons. Now, I don’t exactly have as much time to dedicate to them, but as RJ gets older, I really want him to learn Korean and for us to be able to use it in our home. So I plan on keeping this app around to use over the years so we can both practice together.
The Mango app has over 70 languages and includes some specialty courses (you know, if you want to learn Russian slang) and the courses are laid out in a say and repeat manner so you hear the words and phrases several times and are prompted to repeat them or answer questions with appropriate answers that you’ve learned. Overall, I find it very user friendly and the courses come complete with autoplay and review sessions so you can brush up on what you’ve learned over each course.
*Bonus* LAPL To Go
As the name suggests, this app is your go to for all things LAPL on the go. You can check the status of your physically borrowed books, borrow Ebooks and audio books straight to your tablet, search the library catalog to find which branch you can find a certain book, and probably the coolest feature is the searchable photo collection that gives you access to historic photos from Los Angeles’ past. I geek out over old photographs. I actually used to work in the Photo Archives at NBC, so when I discovered this, I knew it was real. If you were ever curious about what your part of town was like back in the day, do a quick search and you can find some interesting pictures of the people, buildings, and cars that used to populate the streets of Los Angeles.
Alright mamas, I hope this motivates you to go out and get a library card for you and your littles. If you do it right, your library card can literally save you thousands of dollars!