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Things to Do , Arts & Culture , Libraries

Beyond the Bookshelves –More Than Just Books

As part of our effort to highlight the many invaluable community resources NEPA has to offer, we’ve partnered with staff from our local public libraries to bring you an insider’s view to exactly what goes on between the stacks, behind the reference desk and so much more. Follow along and discover the magic behind NEPA’s historic public libraries.

Open Up a World of Information at the Osterhout Free Library


Learn, discover and grow – and do it all for free at the library.

That’s right… at the library. Welcome back, old friend. It’s been a while. You have to see what we’ve been up to.

We don’t like to brag, but we’ve got tons of really cool stuff at The Osterhout Free Public Library in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. And you can borrow most of this stuff for free. All you need is a library card (those are free, too).

We have novels – classics, thrillers, sci-fi, you name it. Maybe you like nonfiction, well, we’ve got a lot of that as well. We also have a huge selection of picture books, guides and manuals and graphic novels. Explore our extensive selection of classic and contemporary films on DVD and Blu-Ray. Or, check out our audio books collection. And soon, we’ll be adding board games and puzzles into the mix.



Ok, so you searched and searched and just couldn’t find exactly what you were looking for.

No worries. There’s a good chance that we can get it for you from another library anywhere in the U.S. We can get that obscure film you watched once 20 years ago from our friends in San Francisco. We will find that weird Welsh cookbook from the 70s in a public library in Chicago. You know, the one that Grandma always had on her kitchen table. No matter what you’re looking for, just know that you’re not only limited to the shelves at the Osterhout.

And if you’re a fan of e-books, we’ve got you covered. Simply download the Axis360 app, add your library card number, and gain access to hundreds of e-books.

And when you’re ready to start building your own home library, stop by our ever-popular library book store. Search through hundreds of titles, mostly priced right around $2. Just remember to bring a bag, because we guarantee you won’t leave with just one book.



Learn Ceaselessly

Sometimes learning goes beyond books. The Osterhout Library also features access to quite a few on-line information databases. Log-in with your library card and start learning a new language, find scholarly resources for school papers, practice for the GED, or other important tests. You can even look up old newspapers, comics and magazines. On your next visit, be sure to check out some of these incredible on-line databases:


This popular resource offers structured lessons in more than 70 languages. English courses are also available in more than 20 different languages. This software focuses on practical phrases for real life situations. Become fluent with practice, or just brush up for a trip overseas.

Learning Express Library

This valuable database provides practice exams, preparation and information for school, work, and other adult core skills. Practice for the U.S. Citizenship Test, the ACTs, SATs, and other school entrance exams. Learning Express also offers assistance for the GED Exam and career preparation.

Power Library

A comprehensive resource for reliable information like scholarly articles, academic content and so much more. Power Library remains one of the most cited resources for easily accessible, accurate information.



At the library, you have access to computers and a reliable Wi-Fi network. Whether you need to print documents, finish up a resume, apply for a job on-line or just kill time, the Osterhout has clean, semi-private workspaces.

There is also a copier, scanner, and fax machine available to the public. And if you need extensive, one-on-one help with the computer, we have an open lab three days a week. Whether your printer ran out of ink and you’re in a jam or you can barely use a mouse, we can help.



Discover Your Roots

Ancestry is all the rage lately. The Osterhout Library is a virtual goldmine of genealogical resources. That trusty library card gets you access to four digitized local newspapers and two databases with digitized newspapers from throughout the country.

Heritage Quest, a massive on-line database allows you to navigate U.S. Census records, housing documents, war records dating back to the Revolutionary War and so much more. You can also use it to organize your family tree.

The fun doesn’t stop with digital resources. The library also houses thousands of physical copies of newspapers. You can even search microfilm reels of newspapers, census data, and historical documents.  And if all of that sounds intimidating, we have a Genealogy Librarian and an awesome Informational Services team always on hand to assist with research.

The Osterhout Library even provides an obituary location service for a nominal fee.



Grow Without Limits

Beyond books and entertainment, the Osterhout Library also offers an extensive list of enriching programs. From summer reading programs and crafts to discussion groups, clubs and more, the library brings the community together.


The library is a place of wonder and curiosity for our youngest friends. The whimsical Ken L. Pollock Children’s Wing features books, reading tables, homework stations, toys, games and computers. Some children’s programs include: Story Time, Pajama Night, Arts & Crafts and so much more.


For young adults, the library offers a safe place to flourish, converse, and make lasting friendships. Teens are welcome to join various clubs, attend skills workshops, or participate in fun, weekly get togethers. Some popular programs include: Movie night, Video Game Club and Write Time, Write Place.


Grown-ups deserve to have a little fun, too. For adults, the library is an escape. It’s somewhere you can go to learn something new, practice an old skill, or recapture your youth. The Osterhout’s popular adult programs include: Author Events, Knitting Club, Writer’s Groups and more. There are even programs designed to assist with navigating health care options, learning basic computer skills and applying for citizenship.


The Osterhout also features many family-oriented programs for visitors of all ages. Get up close and personal with snakes and lizards at the Reptile Zoo. Meet some furry friends at one of our local Animal Shelter events.

The library also works closely with local organizations looking to host their own event. You can partner with the Osterhout staff, or simply reserve space to host the event on your own.



All you need is a library card.

These are just some of the many things you can do at the Osterhout Free Library. Our goal is to enrich lives within our community. We strive to provide information, entertainment, and helpful services in a safe, welcoming space.

There is a whole new world to discover behind the doors of this trusty 130-year-old building. And it offers so much more than just books. Stop in and check it out.

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