Hey ladies and gents,
I want to briefly discuss something that blows my mind: People sleeping on libraries!
I know that back in the day, people HAD to come to the library just to see a real- life computer in action. Or they had to search whatever topic that they were interested in reading about using the dated (and dying?) Dewey Decimal system.
Unfortunately, with the evolution of modern technology, people no longer can fathom the importance of local libraries and their influence on the community. Why yes, you can download an audiobook and listen on your commute to work or can download an ebook and never have to lug a hardcover book, ever again. I’ll admit that that is pretty dope. But nowadays, libraries have evolved, too.
Now we have online card catalogs that act like Google and allow you to quickly see all of the books about your favorite subject matters. In my favorite branches, I can practice Spanish, research genealogy and browse some of my favorite author’s newest best sellers, all free with a library card. And ya’ll know I love me some free. It’s lit!
There is so much access to resources that if you aren’t an exclusive member of the library club, you probably wouldn’t even know about.
Do me a solid and see if your local library carries some of these resources:
Well, DUH! Obviously, you can pick up books at your local library, which means that you don’t need to money purchasing books ever again. But don’t just think of the library as a place to check out chapter books for the kids and erotic novels to read during your “me time”. At the library, you’ll also find books on everything from aligning your chakras to pet parenthood, from human parenting to gardening. And wayyy more.
The library is also a smart place to save money on required reading materials for the school age kiddos. High school and college students alike can find many of the books they need at the local library for free, especially books for English and Literature classes. You’re welcome.
2. Audio books
Now, this is something that I am personally just discovering. Don’t have time to read? Now you can have someone read FOR you. What better way to regain some otherwise-wasted time than to listen to a book on your drive to and from work or while you work out? Most public libraries now carry a collection of audio books on CD or access to applications that allow you to download audiobooks via your celly using services like Overdrive, which lets you check out audiobooks on your smart devices.
Speaking of Overdrive, you can also download ebooks using the app. Before you spend money on a new book for your Kindle, see if your local library carries a copy. Many libraries have access to large, shared collections of audiobooks and ebooks, which can run on a variety of reading devices. You can download and read them on your phone or even kick them over to your tablet.
Don’t have enough money to rent from Redbox and your third cousin, twice removed, kicked you off their Netflix account? Same. Now you can save your coinage by renting a movie from the local library. Most libraries keep hit movies and new releases on deck so you don’t have to wait long to see that movie that just came out a few weeks, ago.
Now, this is probably where I save the most money: Free magazines. You can read all of the latest editions of your fave mags without paying for a subscription. My favorite branch has the option to even download the magazine and you can “check it out”, digitally.
Again, most public libraries keep a collection of up-to-date local, regional, and national newspapers. To stay on top of the latest stories, just check out your local library’s newspapers a few times a week.
You like music but you’re broke? Couldn’t afford to let Beyonce go on another On The Run with your money again, this year? Check your local library for the CD or its online resources to see what concerts you can watch for FREE! Most libraries offer a large collection of music of all types, and you can rent CDs for a set amount of time. And even more libraries offer online resources that allow you to watch concerts from the comfort of your own bed. You can’t beat that.
If you only need internet occasionally, consider mooching off your local library’s free internet. Today’s high-tech libraries usually offer Wi-Fi service for card holders. No more dial up, fam. So you can take your laptop to access the web, or use one of the library’s computers.
Don’t have a computer of your own? No problem! Your library has you covered. Instead of dropping a few stacks for the last electronic device, you can sign up for computer time at the library. It’s free and easy, and library computers are bound to have all the basic programs you need. At some libraries, you can even print off documents for a small fee.
10. Museum admission
Many libraries partner with other local attractions–museums, theaters, parks, etc. –to reduce admission prices for library card holders. Ask your library if a library card can get you a reduced (or free!) price at attractions like these. If so, this is a great way to save money on family entertainment you might otherwise be unable to afford.
There are many benefits to visiting your local library that individuals and people with families can benefit from. I know firsthand, because I work part-time in my local libraries. While most libraries won’t offer all of the above mentioned items for free, most will offer at least a good selection of free items, events, and classes for library patrons.
So, don’t be a dummy, and save some money! That was corny, but I don’t care.
Here are a few quick tips to take full advantage of your library’s money-saving offerings:
- Get a library card. The first step, obviously, is to get a library card. They’re nearly always free, but you usually have to bring your drivers’ license and proof of address–just so they know you’re not catfishing.
- Ask a librarian. If you aren’t sure what your local library does or does not offer, don’t hesitate to ask. And if the library doesn’t offer a program that you’d like to see, suggest it! You might even head up a committee to start that particular program to benefit your whole community.
- Use inter-library loan. If you live in a larger city or county, chances are that you can actually check out items and visit programs from a range of inter-connected county or city libraries. In systems like these, you can often use an inter-library loan system for free. So if your small, outlying library building doesn’t have the book, CD, or movie you’re looking for, you may be able to get it shipped straight to your library from the larger library downtown.
- Check the calendar. Most libraries have an online calendar that will give you great insight into upcoming events and ongoing programs. Check the calendar frequently to be sure you’re making the most of your library!
- Schedule library days. Going to the library two or three times a month is the best way to take advantage of its rotating resources–like newspapers and magazines–and to remember to always take book back on time!
The point is that your local library could have a whole bunch of freebies and not just books. Too many people spend money on things they could get from the library for free. So be sure you check out your local library and save some coinage! Thank me later (I like chocolate)!
When is the last time you visited your local library? What is your favorite library resource? Holla at me, in the comments.