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Free in WNY / Free at the library—almost everything

Architect/artist Dennis Maher’s February 13 talk followed a video on suspension bridges.

Photos by kc kratt


Might as well call the public library Free City, as it is one place you can count on to find no-cost information, entertainment, education, and social interaction. This 185-year-old resource is constantly updated to meet current needs and interests.


You’ve likely already accessed free borrowing privileges for books and music—including digital downloads—as well as movies, historical archives, and computer access. Did you know you can also get technical training? Present yourself to prospective employers at regularly scheduled job fairs? Learn a craft, drop in on a book club, take your whole family to the movies, or soothe jangled nerves in a peaceful adult coloring session? Not all branches have the same offerings; call your local library to see what’s on their free event schedule, or check out the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System on the web, buffalolib.org.



At the Central Branch (downtown’s Lafayette Square), lunchtime is for learning. The public is invited to brown-bag it, and join in the noonday fun. There is an ambitious schedule of  free-access events—including some at other times of the day—including lectures, film screenings, book discussions, and thematic series of presentations.


Free movies, many family-friendly, are shown at 5 p.m. on Thursdays. A Tuesday book club at noon features a different title each week. The IMAGINE lecture series, sponsored by Center for the Study of Art & Architecture, History & Nature, is in its ninth year of presenting weekly video lectures followed by local speakers, at noon on Tuesdays through the spring, fall, and winter. Upcoming themes include Architecture & Design on April 10, with the film Great Cantilever Bridges followed by speaker Kelly Hayes McAlonie, president of the board of the Lipsey Buffalo Architecture Center. On May 15, History & Future is considered, with the film America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and a talk by Paul Zwirecki, director of administration and special projects, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.


The public library isn’t just for borrowing books anymore. Find out about everything else that’s fun, fascinating, and free.   


Many programs are offered at the Central Library downtown; check buffalolib.org for all Erie County library locations and events. 


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