Tacoma Public Library offers far more than books

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

If you thought Tacoma Public Library (TPL) holds nothing more than books, think again.

Here’s a short version of what, besides books, you can find at (or through) TPL.

If you, like many of us, are interested in your family roots, access to Ancestry.com is available from within the library. You can find billions of names from census records, passenger immigration lists, vital records (birth/marriage/death), war and muster lists, court/land records, images, indexes, narratives and much more.

If hands-on crafts are your things, take a look at Creativebug where you can nurture your creative side with 1,000+ video classes in painting, knitting, crafting, sewing & more.

If you want to learn more about other countries – especially if you have travel plans, take a look at Culturegrams where you can learn about the culture and customs of over 200 countries of the world, the 50 United States, and the Canadian Provinces. Includes photos, videos and more.

If you want to see movies via streaming, take a look at Hoopla. Enjoy movies, TV shows, eBooks, comics, music albums, and audiobooks. Check out up to 10 items per month.

You could also check out Kanopy which streams “thoughtful entertainment” including independent and popular films, documentaries, The Criterion Collection, The Great Courses, PBS and more to your preferred device, including Roku.  Enjoy up to 10 videos per month. Kanopy also includes great content for kids.

Books can take you all kinds of places. Photo: Morf Morford

Books can take you all kinds of places. Photo: Morf Morford

If you, like many others, are experiencing a renewed interest in the history of Tacoma/Pierce County, don’t miss TPL’s Image archives, a collection of over 50,000 digitized historical images (1870s-1980s) of Tacoma and surrounding areas, scanned from the Tacoma Public Library’s photography collections. Detailed captions accompany photos that vividly depict people, events, places, and snapshots of everyday life.

If you find issues from drugs to war, to taxes to political arguments confusing, take a look at Opposing Viewpoints In Context.

You can find differing perspectives about today’s hottest social issues. Research, analyze and organize a variety of data for writing assignments, preparing for debates, creating presentations and more.

If you have a student in your life, or want to prepare for those sometimes grueling family gatherings over the coming holidays, don’t miss this balanced view of burning social or political issues. Suitable for Grades 7 and up.

And, just in time for Halloween, look at Unsettling Events – true-life tales which chillingly capture the dark side of our State’s history – battles, crimes, natural disasters, ghost stories and much more.

Ever wonder about how places from Humptulips to Pe Ell got their names, don’t miss Washington Place Names where you can discover the who, what, when and why about thousands of place names throughout Washington.

On a related topic, do not miss TPL’s Northwest Room. The Northwest Room is a treasure/compilation of Northwest-centric history, biographies, maps and much more.

It is an under appreciated  gem of Tacoma, if not the entire Pacific Northwest.

And don’t neglect the fact that you can check out passes to many local museums from Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) to Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) with your library card.

You can see more about these resources and many others at https://www.tacomalibrary.org/resource/?.