There’s nothing better than curling up with a few great books at your local library. But did you know there’s so much more than books your library has to offer? Whether it’s a lesson in online games, enrichment classes to attend, or free museum passes to be had, discover the “hidden treasures” at your local library.

Photo by: New Children's MuseumPhoto credit: The New Children’s Museum

To enjoy everything your library has to offer, you first need to get a library card if you don’t have one. Library cards are free and even the littlest of kids can have their own. All you need to do is bring your driver’s license or identification card to your local San Diego Public Library (managed by the City of San Diego) or the San Diego County Library (managed by the County of San Diego). Both systems have branches throughout the county and offer a wide variety of services for free.

Visit a Museum for Free
Want to visit the New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego? Both the San Diego Public Library and the San Diego County Library systems offer free family passes that you can check out from your local branch. They’ve both got you covered with passes for up to two adults and all kids in one household.

Hankering to hit up the Reuben H. Fleet Science Museum or the San Diego Museum of Art? Circulating memberships to both museums are available at the San Diego Public Library. Just reserve a family pass online and visit the museum for as many times as you and your family like for up to 14 days.

Photo by: Philipp Scholz RittermannPhoto credit: Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Enjoy Some Art
Both library systems host art exhibits throughout the year, with several exhibitions appearing as part of the San Diego Public Library’s visual arts program at the new Central and local branch libraries. Many spots offer free, kid-friendly art classes for all ages. Some of our favorite classes are preschooler storytime and crafts, and soap-making for teens. If your little one has been wanting to sew her own clothes, check out the needlecraft classes and clubs for all ages, from knitting to sewing.

Photo by: San Diego County LibraryPhoto by: San Diego County Library

Get Gaming
want to spend less on the video games you know your kid will only play for a few days before losing interest? The County Library offers Xbox Live and PS3 games for checkout, from popular titles like “Assassin’s Creed” and “FIFA Soccer” to classics like “Atari Anthology” and “Street Fighter.” Just select “Call Number” and enter “Xbox” or “PS3” to search what titles are available.

And don’t forget — even if your local branch doesn’t have the title you want (whether it’s books, music, movies or video games), you can always reserve materials from any branch and ask that they be delivered to your neighborhood for pick-up.

Test Drive Technology
So maybe you already know you can check out DVDs, CDs and the like from your local library. But did you know that videos are now available for streaming through web browsers or via the Overdrive app on your favorite tablet or smartphone?  They even have an app for Windows phone users, in addition to the usual iPhone/iPad and Android apps. Ebooks and audio books are also included in this awesome feature.

Photo credit: San Diego CountyPhoto credit: San Diego County

Get Your Om On
Not only does your local library offer free adult yoga classes, they also have them for toddlers, babies and preschoolers, too. Classes combine traditional poses with nursery rhymes, songs and storytelling that help your kiddo find that “peaceful” center. If yoga isn’t quite your cup of tea, many branches also offer baby sign language classes, dog walking clubs and family movie nights.

San Diego City Public Library
Online: sandiego.gov/public-library

San Diego County Library
Online: sdcl.org

Do you have a favorite library activity? Tell us in the comments.

– Lorena Nava Ruggero