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Even if you use the Lake County Public Library regularly, you may not be aware of all the library has to offer.

Most books, magazines, and CDs may be renewed up to five times (a total of 12 weeks), even if they're already a few days overdue. Email or text notifications alert you before items are due, giving you time to renew or return them before the due date.

Though we'd love to see you, we understand you're sometimes in a hurry. So outdoors book and audiovisual drops are available all day, every day, at all LCPL branches. Plus, if your books or movies are due today, return them in the drops before the branch opens tomorrow to avoid fines. Just like other materials, DVDs may be returned at any branch, regardless of where you checked them out.

To see what's new, sign up for Wowbrary to receive a colorful weekly e-newsletter of new books, CDs, and DVDs, complete with descriptions, reviews, and links to place your requests.

If your branch doesn't have a book, CD, or magazine you want, request it. If the title is available at another location, it will be delivered to the branch of your choice, free of charge, often within a few days.

With so many new books, how do you decide what to read next? We can help by using author readalikes, staff recommendations, NoveList and other resources to build your reading list.

Resident card holders can download music, magazines, audiobooks, and e-books. If you're not sure how to download to your tablet, smart phone, or iPad, we're happy to show you.

Every branch has a public display case in which we often feature collections of our patrons. Do you have a special collection you would like to show off? Whether teapots or comic books, ontact your local branch for availability.

Reciprocal agreements in place with the other library systems in Lake County (Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, and Lowell) extends LCPL privileges to people who are not residents of our district. Ask Circulation Desk staff for details on how to get a card if you are a member of one of these library systems.

Library programs aren't just for kids. Our monthly newsletters contain a wealth of interesting programs and events for all ages. Stop by and pick one up, or go to, click on 'Events' at the top of the page, and sign up to have 'Happenings' sent directly to your email address every month.

Follow us on Facebook. Sure, we post about awesome library programs and vital information about weather-related closings. But we also post things like your favorite scenes from literature reconstructed with LEGO bricks, or the antics of the Hobart branch's elves on the shelf. Delicious recipes you can make using the cookbooks in our collection are also posted.

Long story short, it's a good time and you should come join the fun at!

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This month's Lake County Public Library column was written by Chris Rettig, branch manager of the Griffith-Calumet branch, 1215 E. 45th Ave., Griffith, (219) 838-2825. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.