For the first charity of the year, I picked one that I really should have had on our recurring donations list, but I had never actually made a donation to before (unless you count all the money I've paid in overdue fines over the years): our local library. I'm not including a link to our specific library association, because I'd like to encourage everyone out there to donate locally. You can find your local library here.
I still remember how proud I was when I got my very first library card at the tender age of five (you had to be old enough to print your entire name by yourself). I even remember one of the very first books I checked out Although we soon moved away from that town, over the years, whenever I would move to a new place, one of the first things I would do was go down and get a new card at the local library.
Libraries provide so much more than books. At most public libraries, you can check out music, audio books, and movies. Some even have other items available for lending such as artworks, toys, cameras and tools. Just pop in and ask and you'll be surprised at the resources available. While you are there, you can sign up for a free class or seminar, hop on to a computer and surf the web, or go old school and read a print newspaper or magazine. Look around and you will see kids working on their homework, seniors catching up on local news and people of all ages curled up with a book or engrossed in some esoteric research project.
Libraries truly are the heart of a community and the important services they provide can't be supported enough.