When was the last time you visited your local library? Libraries are one of the few free forms of entertainment available to anyone. You can apply for a county library card in most municipalities across the state. All you need is an address within the county.
Libraries offer books, of course, but they have so much more. Find out seven easy ways to save money at your local library.
1. Check Out Books, E-Books, and Audiobooks
Libraries lend books to patrons for free. If you’ve taken a few books out before, you know how easy it is to check them out. Borrowing books provides a low-cost way to keep up with the latest bestsellers or find a new favorite.
Most libraries also now offer e-book checkouts for e-readers. You link your library card to the online checkout service and get books delivered to your e-reader for free.
In addition, audiobooks have enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past few years. Most libraries have a program that allows you to take out these electronic materials and access them on your phone.
2. Check Out DVDs and CDs
You can rent movies from your local library. While the library may not have every title that’s come out in the past year, many movie collections are surprisingly up to date with blockbusters and romantic comedies alike. Keep in mind that rental times for movies are usually shorter than those for books. While you may get a book for two weeks, you may only get a movie for a week. Avoid fines by turning in your DVDs on time.
Libraries also lend music CDs to those with library cards. You can take out classical CDs that make a soothing background for reading or find some of your favorite contemporary artists and sample their work before downloading their latest albums.
3. Read Newspapers and Magazines
Love reading the latest news, but don’t want to pay for a newspaper subscription? Libraries stock copies of daily newspapers from your hometown as well as some national publications. Some libraries let you check out newspapers, but many only offer them to read on the premises.
Magazines feature some of the most interesting and relevant stories you can find in journalism today, but subscriptions can be expensive. Checking out magazines at the library saves you money while keeping you up to date on news and information.
4. Take a Free Class
Libraries provide lots of opportunities for free learning. Many offer classes on subjects the community has expressed interest in. You can find a calendar of upcoming events on your library’s website or request a paper copy at the circulation desk. Here are just a few things your library may offer.
- Gentle yoga for seniors
- Knitting how-tos
- Scrapbooking instruction
- Writing classes
- How to use a computer
- Classes from local business leaders
Most classes require pre-registration online or at the library.
5. Enroll in Clubs for Children and Teens
Libraries have excellent programs for kids. For instance, you may find a LEGO® building club geared toward kids ages five and up or a book club for tweens focused on graphic novels.
For teenagers, libraries can provide a place of belonging. Manga book clubs and Dungeons & Dragons® clubs are popular options. Librarians love hearing from teens about activities they’d like to see at the library, so encourage them to speak up.
Libraries also offer storytimes where children can relax and become transported to another world. Check out the different storytimes available to find the right level for your child. Most are broken down into three categories: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
6. Enjoy Free Workspaces
Nearly every library offers free Wi-Fi. For employees who work from home, libraries allow them to get out of the house while still enjoying the quiet they need to concentrate and finish their work. Library workspaces are also great for people who are traveling and for students.
Most libraries offer a space where you can print and scan documents. Some libraries charge a small fee if you print out more than a couple of pages or use color printing. The fee will typically be well under what you’d pay at a local copy or postal store.
7. Get Job Search and Resume Writing Help
Are you looking for a new job? Librarians can help with your search. Many libraries offer free classes on how to search for jobs and improve your resume. Librarians can point you to websites with examples of standout resumes in your field. They can also show you different online job boards. Plus, they can explain how to upload your resume in an electronic application.
Helpful, free advice from a librarian may be just what you need to land your dream job.
Libraries provide the chance for people to connect and expand their minds through free services and events. Put these money-saving tips into practice today. For more information on ways to save, check out our WalletWorks page.