The Crochet Guild of America.
For anyone interested in crochet, from beginner to certified expert, I highly recommend the website of the Crochet Guild of America, www.crochet.org. It is a terrific organization, and the award-winning website has learn-to-crochet instructions, links to free patterns, a list of special events, and other information that's a great resource for anyone working in the fiber arts. Annual and regional conferences offer knitting and crochet classes, plus a marketplace. Think about becoming a member (benefits described on the site), or even about establishing your own local chapter in your town or area.
I think you're always best off with your local shop, where you can see and feel the yarns, and obtain useful advice. In my own northern Virginia area (suburbs of Washington DC), the recent closing of Aylin's Woolgatherer, so long a beacon because of its marvelous selection of yarns, patterns, and supplies, as well as expert advice, leaves me at least temporarily without a single favorite place to recommend.
Each crocheter has her/his own preference in hooks. Experiment with different brands, types, and materials to decide. In some of my patterns, I use a "between-size" 13.5mm crochet hook that isn't common in stores, but you can acquire it from William Schmidt, at www.turn-of-the-century.com. He also offers a wide range of beautiful hooks in other sizes.