Balch Springs Public Library

by Donny on June 30, 2010

Balch Springs Public Library
12450 Elam Rd.
Balch Springs, TX 75180
(972) 913-3000

The Balch Springs Public Library is a small, attractive library on Elam Rd. right next to the Balch Springs Police and Fire Department. It has beautiful bookshelves stained dark red. And everything is nice and orderly. Of course, looks aren’t everything. What’s on the shelves?

Well, like many libraries these days, the book selection leaves something to be desired. They usually have the new most popular books and books by popular authors. But they are lacking in many of both the classic and contemporary works of literature. The Balch Springs Public Library, does have an inter-library loan program, however, which allows you to check out two items at a time from some other library if Balch Springs doesn’t have what you need.

You just need to get a TexShare card. I got mine through my university. You can check into getting one of your own at www.texshare.edu. The library does have a decent young adult reading selection with all the must-have books such as the Twilight series, Harry Potter, the Spiderwick Chronicles, the Chronicles of Narnia, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew etc.

Also they have several graphic novels and there are some good audio books available for kids and teens. The kids book section has its own room and a decent selection of children’s books, magazines, and board books. Behind the kids section are two small rooms. One has a few toys for the kids to play with (you know, the kind where you push beads over twisty wire). In the other room there is a computer available.

This computer can be used by any child between the ages of four and eleven who has a library card. The child has to be supervised by an adult, though. If your child wants to use the computer, they just check in at the circulation desk, where they can also check out some computer games if they would like. I like to find some good books and read to my kids at one of the small tables in the kids section. Speaking of reading to your kids – if you read to your kids or they read by themselves, they can win lots of prizes. It’s part of the library’s summer reading program.

If your child reads for five hours they get a reading certificate, a sucker, and a ticket to see the circus. If the child reads an additional five hours (ten hours) win a free book, a free kids’ meal at Chick-Fil-A (awesome!) and they get their name entered in a drawing for a grand prize. Finally, if they read five more hours (fifteen hours) or if you read to them, they win a Golden Corral coupon, a Celebration Station coupon, and have their name entered again in the grand prize drawing.

While the book selection is not stellar at Balch Springs Public Library, the DVD selection is excellent for both kids and adults. They have new releases, classics, documentaries, kids videos etc. Books can be checked out for two weeks and cost fifteen cents for every day they are late, but DVDs can only be checked out for a week and cost $1.00 for every late day. The adult audio books (like the books) located next to the DVDs and videos are also pretty limited in selection.

The library also has some useful features for adults. There is a large room filled with computers for anyone looking for internet access. The computers can be used by anyone twelve or older with a library card. Just go to the library circulation desk, show them your library card, and they will give you a slip of paper with a code to type into the computer. Then you have up to sixty minutes to use the computer.

If you have your own laptop, you can check out a cord to plug into a phone jack and get internet access. The library also has a small study room where you can go to enjoy the quiet and get some work done. There are six chairs and desk spaces in the study area. I often use this study area as my office away from home. Once in awhile, though, the study area isn’t as quiet as it should be.

One time a lady was in there with her two little girls, who were being pretty loud and rambunctious. The mom was doing her best, but it wasn’t going so well. Not a good time to study! Also sometimes people talk or play their music too loud and you can hear it through their headphones. Still, most of the time it is a good, quiet, and most importantly, free workplace.

Speaking of noise, sometimes it is the librarians who are making it. I’ve never seen a library where the librarians are more laid back, talkative, and joke around so much. I think I prefer the quiet, serious librarian but if you like them more friendly and outgoing you’ll love the Balch Springs Public Library.

If you are a book lover like me, you might also want to check out the library’s ongoing book sale. They always have several books available for purchase. Hardback books cost fifty cents and paperbacks sell for a quarter. They also have a few videos for sale and sometimes they even have a box of free books and magazines that you can look through and take what you like.

If you don’t have a library card and would like to get one, you just have to bring in a Texas picture I.D. even if not in the Dallas Texas area and a piece of mail showing your current address. The first time you use your card you can only check out two books and no audio-visual material.

But when you return those items on time you get to check out up to ten items (no more than three DVDs at a time). The library’s summer hours (June 1 – August 27th) are from 10:00am – 7:00pm on Monday thru Thursday and 11:00am thru 3:00pm on Saturday. It is closed on Fridays and Sundays all year round.

One last fun thing about the library is the small pond outside. Right next to the library there is a small pond full of ducks (and ducklings), turtles, minnows, and fish. They have a catch and release policy there, so you are free to do a little fishing as long as you are good and throw them all back.

There is also a white gazebo near the pond and a couple of picnic benches if you want to relax or get a little shade. Just beware of the pervasive duck poop. If you live in the area, be sure to get yourself a card and some books, and don’t forget to bring some bread for the ducks (and maybe even your fishing pole).

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