The Central Library hosts a dizzying number of events at branches across the city, and every single one of them is absolutely free. They’ll help you figure out your new computer, do your taxes, learn a new language, play board games, discuss books, hear from authors, listen to concerts, watch movies, become a US citizen, entertain your children, take advantage of government programs, experiment with 3D printers, and much more. They have book clubs and reading groups aimed at a truly wide variety of specific audiences, from low-vision readers to babies. They also host programs in languages including Chinese, Vietnamese, Somali, and Spanish. And a few times a year, they offer the Seattle community the chance to attend free talks by famous touring authors. Even if there’s nothing up your alley in their schedule, the Central Library (downtown) is a bizarre and famous piece of architecture by Rem Koolhaas—you could easily spend hours exploring the building both inside and out. (Inside, there’s one section that makes you feel like you’re one of Miss Frizzle’s children shrunk down to microscopic size on the Magic School Bus, wandering through the tubes and tunnels of the human body.) (JULIA RABAN)
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