Read, Play and Learn at the Central Library

By Bernardo Frias

The George W. Hawkes Central Library has resources and services for people of all ages and interests. Located in the heart of Downtown Arlington, the Central Library has books, magazines, encyclopedias, CD’s, DVD’s, audiobooks, downloadable e-audiobooks and even a multimedia studio.

The Studio is a space for teens ages 13-18 who are interested in digital photography, videography, graphic arts, creative writing, web design and music. The Studio provides professional digital editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere and Garageband. Teens can also relax and unwind after a long study session by playing video game systems such as the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Wii.

Patrick Reilly, who is in charge of customer service throughout the Arlington Public Library system, explains that it’s not just children and teens that can benefit from visiting the library.

“Some people go to the library because they want to study there,” Reilly said. “It’s just easier to concentrate in a place that isn’t near your refrigerator.”

“Databases are another valuable resource,” said Norma Zuniga, the Division Administrator for Program Management and Community Engagement. The Arlington Public Library system offers language learning programs such as Mango Languages for adults and Muzzy Languages for children. Their Arlington READS program offers residents of Arlington a place to learn to read, as well as lifelong programs, like ESL and GED classes.

Karen Ehrie, the public services coordinator at George W. Hawkes Central Library, welcomes the opportunity to help people in any way that she or her staff can. Through a partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) the library is able to provide senior citizens free tax preparation and will help them research or look up forms from years past in case they are behind on filing their taxes.

In order to check materials out from the library, you will need to have a library card. Library cards are free to residents of Arlington or people who own property in the city of Arlington. A library card gives you access to not only the resources at the central library but also to any of the six other libraries in Arlington. You can apply to get a library card online, or you can come and apply in person.

“We may not know everything, but we’ll do what we can to get you the information you are looking for,” said Reilly. “We like to help.”