If you’re a frugal guy or gal, you already know that libraries are a great resource for reading material. Rather than shelling out $15-$20 for a book you’ll likely only read once, you can check it out from the library for free just by having a membership at your local library. But there’s so, so much more than your library can do for you besides providing great books to read. Here are some of the frugal ways you can take advantage of your library membership.
Most people look to the library when reading for pleasure: fiction, non-fiction, YA books, biographies, etc. But what about the literature that’s designed for specific, real-life applications? Don’t forget that your library can also be a great resource for your DIY projects at home. From little things like painting or installing new light fixtures to more major renovations, you can often find great books, videos and magazines at the library that have just the kind of guidance you’re looking for. Sure, a few YouTube videos might help in these situations, but keep in mind that these aren’t always the most reliable source of quality home improvement advice. If you want something written by an expert, turn to your local library branch.
Another area where you might not think to look to the library is for self-help books. This is a huge category of reading material that you may have overlooked before, especially if you’re not into some of the more “New Age” ideas about self-improvement. But there’s so much more to this section that it’s definitely worth taking a look. For example, there are lots of helpful parenting guides that deal with everything from basic baby care to specific behavioral problems faced by toddlers, teens and everything in between. You can also get some great fitness resources in this section or even find a book that covers home organization and other interesting topics. Be sure to browse this section the next time you’re at the library to discover some hidden gems.
Did you know that many libraries partner with nearby attractions to offer discounted admission or family passes? Whether you want to visit a local museum, an amusement park or an educational attraction, it’s worth checking with your local library before you set out on this nearby adventure. You can sometimes borrow a pass to get free admission or use your library card to get discounted tickets.
If you love reading but don’t always have the time to do it, consider trying out audio books. Most libraries have a huge selection with options to borrow a physical CD or get a download to keep on your MP3 player or smartphone. Then, you can listen to them any time you want, whether it’s while working out, on your commute or during a road trip.
Don’t waste money by heading out to the movie theater every weekend. Instead, enjoy a bit of free entertainment by going to your local library. Most branches have an impressive collection of DVDs from which to choose. In addition to popular movies, you may also be able to find seasons of a TV show, documentaries, exercise videos and educational content.
Activities for the Whole Family
The library may seem like a quiet spot where most people are just sitting around reading. But if you check the calendar for your local branch, you may be surprised to see all the fun activities going on every week. There could be story time for youngsters, local outings for teenagers and book clubs for adults. Some libraries also host author readings, guest lectures and other unique activities, most of which are free for members.
If you want to learn something new, check with your library. It’s often one of the most affordable places to sign up for an interesting class. For example, some libraries offer free classes on how to use their resources to trace your family ancestry. You might find a tutorial for an interesting craft project or art style. Computer classes are another common offering at local libraries, so check out what nearby branches have to offer.
If you’re in need of employment, the library is an excellent place to start your search. In addition to having access to their computers to look online for job postings, you can often find classes or helpful resources about how to effectively hunt for a job. For example, some librarians can help you craft a resume or put together a winning cover letter. You might just get the leg up you need to get the job by conducting your search from the local library.
This is just the beginning of what libraries can do to enrich your life without emptying your wallet. If you’re interesting in learning more, ask a librarian to show you around and explain what your local branch has to offer.