The best place to save money is at the library. If you want to be more frugal, the first thing you should do is join your local library.
Books are a great screen-free way to pass the time and you can learn a packet if you read non-fiction. But libraries offer so much more.
These days you can stream movies, borrow games, learn Yoga, entertain the kids, just to name a few things on top of borrowing books.
My one weakness is books. My idea of paradise is a library room with floor to ceiling bookshelves lining every wall. And a comfy chair. And an open fireplace. And a cup of tea…
Anyway, our book budget is pretty close to zero dollars. But that’s ok, because I can get them for free! And you know, using the library is practically like buying a book, you have to swipe a plastic card to take the book home, but there’s no pain of money being spent.
Modern library services go well beyond just lending books, however. Even I’m surprised at how many services our local library offers, and I spend a lot of time at our library. When we moved away from the city, library access was what I thought I would miss the most. Lucky for us, we have a good library here too.
I thought I would share the services offered by our library. If you haven’t explored your local library, I hope this inspires you to check out what services yours offers.
Borrow: books, DVDs, CDs, toys, puzzles, board games, foreign language materials, eBooks, audio books (digital and DVDs), magazines, newspapers.
Lending Services: inter-library loans, suggest-a-book, mobile library, home library service, new books email service (where they email you the latest titles purchased and you can place them on reserve to read as soon as they arrive), book club (the library has a special book club range with a large selection of books that you can borrow multiple copies of for your book club).
Online Services: Audiobooks, ebooks, music streaming, movie streaming, free magazines (all your favourites for free peeps!), reference databases, eGames, eLearning.
Local history and genealogy: our library has access to births, deaths and marriages etc for you to research your family tree as well as a genealogist to help you.
Author talks: regular meet the author events.
Seminars: lately we have had seminars on raising chickens, permaculture, money management, weight loss, home renovation, business marketing, parenting and how to meditate.
Computers: offering word processing and other office programs as well as internet access.
Tech services: photocopying and printing.
Computer classes: everything from computer basics for seniors to desktop publishing.
Free wi-fi: if you want to use your own laptop.
Coffee machine and outside area to sit.
Adult literacy classes
Kids activities: our library has story telling time, baby in arms story time, school holiday activities, summer reading programmes, competitions, toddler music time, a couch and reading area with toys to play with, computers just for kids with learning programmes installed.
Charity events: our local library is having the biggest morning tea for instance.
Art exhibitions of local artists
Reading suggestions: the library has a newsletter that includes a ‘great reads’ section. There are also book reviews posted on the shelves around the library and the online catalogue has a ‘review’ section a lot like Amazon.com where members can leave a book review of the books they read.
Community notices: The library has a community notice board, bus timetables to take, community health and awareness brochures, community magazines, a free local flora and pest guide, what’s on, for sale etc.
Extra-curricular activities: One of the smaller libraries in our region offers daily yoga, tai chi and meditation sessions. What a nice way to start the day – followed by a coffee and a book!
What local library services do you use?
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.