Our Favorite (Free) Offerings At Local Libraries

We all know we can count on the local library for free books, cds, and DVDs, along with a drop-in storytime or two for the kids. But there’s a lot more going on, and you can save money on everything from fitness classes to museum visits if you check in at the reference desk. Here’s just a sampling of what’s offered—at no charge—at some of the area’s libraries.

Yoga Classes

Alka Tewani, registered yoga therapist and certified yoga instructor, teaches “chair yoga,” a form of yoga that you can do, obviously, while sitting down. The goal is greater flexibility, improved balance, strengthening and toning of muscles, and stress reduction. Saturdays at 10:30 am; no registration required. North Castle Public Library, Armonk (914) 273-3887; northcastlelibrary.org.

Theatrical Productions

M&M Productions Acting Company produces professional-quality works of theater and tours them throughout the libraries in the area for free. For its spring 2014 season, the Company just finished up presenting Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, and will tour David Mamet’s The Water Engine—done in a radio play format—through mid-May. Times and library locations vary; visit mmpaci.com for details.

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Art Workshops

In the style of an old-fashioned sewing circle, crafters and creators bring in their knitting, collages, or paints and get to work in the company of other artists. Between artistic endeavors? The library also has ongoing group projects that you can join. Mondays 7 pm; no registration required. Ruth Keeler Memorial Library, North Salem, (914) 669-5161; ruthkeelermemoriallibrary.org.

Live Music

The Budarz Theater at the Ossining Public Library is home to all types of performances, and May sees its “Words and Music” series hosting a concert with local chorale group Hudson Bells on May 11 and folk singer/songwriter Willie Nile on May 18. The Budarz Theater schedule is available at the Library and on its website; Ossining Public Library, Ossining (914) 941-2416; ossininglibrary.org.

Meditation Classes

We all need to find ways to de-stress—and relaxing effects are negated if you have to worry about affording inner peace. The Warner Library offers free meditation classes so you can find spiritual and financial nirvana. Mondays at 7 pm; call to register. Warner Library, Tarrytown (914) 631-7734; warnerlibrary.org.

Foreign and Indie Films

With multiplexes clogged with blockbuster popcorn films—and plagued with ever-increasing prices—it’s getting harder and harder to find the foreign and indie films. Scarsdale’s library hosts a monthly film series, with complimentary snacks and soda. (Try finding that at a Cinema De Lux.) Past films have included Kon-Tiki, The Band’s Visit, and The Kid with the Bike. Films are shown on the second Wednesday of every month, along with the following Friday; no registration required. Scarsdale Public Library, Scarsdale (914) 722-1300; scarsdalelibrary.org.

Poets and Writers Gatherings

Writing can often be a solo endeavor—trust us, we know—but the Greenburgh Library brings together writers to share ideas and comment on each others’ work. Poets and other writers meet separately, and both groups are open to anyone who wants to participate. Poets meet on the first Monday of the month at 2:30, while writers meet every other Tuesday at 7 pm; no registration required. Greenburgh Public Library, Elmsford (914-721-8200; greenburghlibrary.org).

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Collectible Card Gaming

Think your kids have to be relegated to the musty basements of comic-book stores when they want to test out their gaming skills? Yonkers’ Riverfront Library has a weekly meeting where teens aged 12 to 19 can best each other at Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and Naruto. Wednesdays at 4 pm; no registration required. Yonkers Public Library, Riverfront Branch, Yonkers (914-375-7966; ypl.org).

Museum Passes

At nearly all of our local libraries, families can check out free passes to local museums the way they would a book (with the exception that they have to be returned in three days). The passes are available to adult cardholders in good standing, and museums include local favorites like the Katonah Museum of Art, the Neuberger Museum, and the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, along with New York City institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim. The number of participating museums and procedures for checkout vary at each library; contact your library for details. 

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