Some of these tips will be fairly obvious. Others, maybe you didn’t know about. Either way, I hope this post will inspire you to use your local library! It is a shame that most people don’t know what a gem public libraries really are.
Well this is a pretty obvious one, right? I often dream of a house with wall-to-wall bookshelves, loaded with lovely hard-bound copies of the great classics and all the art books I studied in college. Alas, that would be an epic waste of money and only for show. Very rarely will we re-read the books we have already read and chances are we run out to the store and pick up books we need to projects or inspiration, then they just collect dust. Unless the item is a hot best-seller in high demand, you can most likely get it at the library in-house or via interlibrary loan in under a week. My library has a system where I can request books or other items I can’t find on the shelf and receive a text message when it arrives and is ready to be picked up. WOW. How is that for convenience? Let’s say I am an avid reader of novels. A hardcover novel averages about $27.99 in the store. If I read a book a week I would be spending over $100 a month! That doesn’t include other fun books I might like to check out like DIY books, travel guides and whatever new inspirational self-help book is all the go. Sweet!!
2. Digital Books: e-Books & e-Audiobooks
I love to read. I am obsessive about wasting time when I could be reading. I often carry a book in my purse, but that can get heavy. I wish I could read while I walked my dog – OH WAIT, I CAN!!!! My library offers free digital downloads. Often I will download an audiobook to my smartphone so I can listen while I walk the dog, clean the house or even in the car.
Also, e-Books are great for traveling. If I am away for a week or two at a time, I cannot possibly lug around 4-5 hardcover books through airports and on the plane. I have an old Nook e-reader that I try and load e-books on that way I have one slim and light item with all my books in it for the plane.
3. Museum Passes
I live in a small state, but it seems there are so many good museums here! Most admissions range from $5.00-$30.00. If I went to a new museum every weekend at $30.00 that would cost me well over $100.00 a month! Yikes. I can borrow library passes and present them at the admission counter at these museums and I will receive the discounted rate of the pass. Sometimes if I am lucky, this means free admission. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it will be a percentage off or even just $5.00. But that is $5.00 I can save or choose to spend in the gift shop OR if I like the museum that much, I can put that $5.00 toward a yearly membership which always includes perks like free admission and discounted admission to events.
4. Learn a New Skill
Libraries have so many programs. I can take one (or a series of) classes to learn writing, drawing, painting, sewing and so much more. Libraries also have talks and seminars about financial literacy, health care and cooking! Why would I pay Joann Fabrics or Michael’s Stores to learn a craft when I can learn at the library for free?! And most times, they will supply all the items you need. Holy moly!! A sewing class at Joann’s costs $35! Library = FREE!! Free learning?! WHOAH!!
5. A Quiet Space
Sometimes I need to get out of the house to do creative work. There are too many distractions here. I used to head over to a coffee shop, grab a drink and a muffin and stay a while, much to the owner’s dismay. Instead, I go to the library. I find a cozy corner and dig right in. Price – FREE!
6. Judgement Free Zone
It is scary to say this but I have worked at the library for over a decade. I have learned a ton along the way. But one thing I notice is that all libraries are judgement free – the patrons, the staff etc. There is no shame at the library like there might be at other places.
What could I mean here? Freedom to educate yourself on any topic. Freedom to learn. Remember – many countries don’t allow such luxuries like freedom to learn!! I can go into the library, take a book out on any topic (or even a banned book) and read it because I feel like it!
Well, I could go on but I think at this point you should be running to the library!