With a new year upon us, it's that magical time when we can all start fresh with our goals for the year. Why not enlist some extra help from the library to achieve those goals? Here are 10 goals for 2014, all within arm's reach with some extra support from you-know-what Diet and Exercise: We devote lots of shelf space to books about diet and exercise. Some new titles (that may sound too good to be true): Bob Arnot's "The Aztec Diet: Chia Power: The Superfood that Gets You Skinny and Keeps You Healthy" and David Zinczenko's "The 8-Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear Without Watching What You Eat!" Forgo Meat One Night a Week: Eating less meat is a great goal for the health of the planet and for your body. Try "The Meat Free Monday Cookbook" or Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week." Forgo TV One Night a Week: Come hang out at the library for a story time with the kids or grandkids, browse the magazines and newspapers, or just come to see what's on the new book shelf. Save Money: I'm a cheapskate, and working in the library is a cheapskate's dream. Easy ways to save include borrowing books and movies instead of buying them; checking out books about financial planning and retirement; borrowing cookbooks that encourage you to dine in rather than eating fast food or dining out quite so often; and attending free programs. Visit a Museum: Use the library's Discover and Go museum passes to go to Bay Area museums for free or at a discounted price. There are now more than 40 venues to choose from, including the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Chabot Space & Science Center and the USS Hornet, to name a few. Visit http://ccclib.org/discovergo/ Download an eBook: It has become my mission in life to show people how to download the library's collection of free e-books onto whatever device they own. Brentwood and Oakley will be hosting classes in January and February, and I'm also available by appointment to demonstrate how the process works.
I'll be taking my workshops on the road as well, offering classes at Discovery Bay's new community center. Details about those classes are available in its recreation guide. Library programs can be found at http://ccclib.org/programs Read Something Different: In a rut with your reading? Ready for something new but not sure where to look? The library's website has a page dedicated to reading recommendations, with links to reading lists from National Public Radio, the Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly. There's also a link to staff recommendations, with full descriptions for each title included. Joining a book club is a great way to try something you normally wouldn't select for yourself. Oakley, Antioch and Brentwood libraries have book clubs worth checking out. Book recommendations can be found at http://guides.ccclib.org/books Start a New Hobby: Whether you're interested in learning about photography, woodworking, beading, cooking or kayaking, the library has a book about it. Better yet, come to one of Brentwood or Oakley's monthly beading sessions to learn from a pro. Oakley and Antioch have monthly knitting sessions as well, with veterans on hand to offer instruction and assistance. Get Health Insurance: Libraries have computer access, as well as Wi-Fi, available whenever we're open. Don't let not having a computer keep you from signing up under the new Affordable Care Act. Several libraries are having workshops about the new health insurance law, and will have certified health educators on site to answer your questions. Check the library home page, and click on the Covered California icon to find out when and where these sessions are being held. Have an Interaction with a Human: This one sounds silly, but how many places can you go anymore where you can talk to a person, get friendly assistance, and share a story or two about something you read or watched on DVD. The library isn't trying to sell you anything, and it doesn't matter how much you earn when you walk through the door.
Liz Fuller is a community library manager at the Brentwood library. Reach her at 925-516-5294 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.