Use library when planning summer
Alaskans tend to hit their summers running to take advantage of every minute of this short, light-filled season. No matter what your choice of adventure is, your library is a great resource for selecting and planning them.
If you are interested in exploring a bit of the state's vast expanses, the library's vast Alaska Collection offers books and maps for all levels of experience. Mountaineering – Freedom of the Hills remains one of the best guides when preparing for the outdoors. It includes lists of what to bring and step-by-step, how-to instructions for all manner of wilderness trips. Old standbys for Alaska trips specifically include 55 Ways to the Wilderness and Shawn Lyons's Walkabout series, which includes a guide to hikes in the Chugach Mountains. There are guide books for every part of the state that you can check out.
To get a better fix on coordinates when selecting routes, take advantage of the library's collection of USGS topographical maps. The index and very detailed terrain maps are a great way to examine the terrain beforehand and narrow down the maps you might buy to bring. GPS devices are great, but having a physical backup is always a good idea in case of technical difficulties.
If your trip is going to include lots of time in the car, check out the library's downloadable collections. We have a wide selection of eReader books, as well as hundreds of spoken volumes that you can bring along on your MP3 player or iPod.
If you're staying close to town, remember that neighborhood libraries will be offering weekly programs for school-age kids. Sign the whole family up for this year's Summer Reading Celebration and get a chance at great prizes. If you're in Anchorage on Thursdays this summer, swing by Loussac Library to catch the weekly concert on the lawn from noon to 1 p.m.
Toni Massari McPherson, APL Community Relations Coordinator, invites you to check out the summer program schedule at http://anchoragelibrary.org or become a library Facebook fan for regular updates on events.
This article published in The Alaska Star on Thursday, June 23, 2011.