Your Library: Have You Factored in Your Local Branch to Save Money?

By Sara


Last Updated: August 16, 2022


Libraries are a frugal person's happy place. You can use free Wifi, browse for a book, and take it home for free! You just have to make sure you bring back that book, so someone else can use it.

Libraries are more than just a place for physical books. You can download ebooks straight to your Kindle for free. You can download an audiobook on your phone for free. 


The Physical Library 

It wouldn't be fair to talk about the library without talking about the physical space itself.

Libraries are filled with amazing technology and spaces. You can find automated checkout machines and a conveyor belt to return books. They have spaces that you can reserve for small or large meetings to use for free. Libraries also have a huge collection of kid's books, teen books, adult fiction novels, and nonfiction books.

You can find CDs and DVDs at libraries too. Some of your favorite movies can be found at the library to check out. You can attend the library's story times, teen activities, and writing support groups.

Some libraries even have laptop checkout machines to rent a laptop! If you haven't been to a library since you were a kid, you'll be surprised by how much has changed. Not to mention, the current trend is to go "fine free," so you don't have to pay a fine for a late return, but you still have to pay for the book if you don't bring it back. 



Ebooks and Audiobooks 

Most library systems have some sort of online library.

Here you can find databases and another fun website. One of the best parts of the online library is the ebook and audiobook rentals. Two major apps to find and download books to your phone are Hoopla and Libby.

Some library systems have both, and some just have one. Many popular and classic books can be downloaded to your Kindle and phone to read or listen to. In addition, the public library has expanded its borrowing capabilities beyond its physical walls. 

Audiobooks and ebooks can be very costly. Most books are $30 a book. If you are reading or listening to books once a week, that is $1,560 a year on books. Most readers are always buying books to put on their "to read" shelf, but with the downloadable books, you can add these to a list and rent when you are ready to read. 



Branches and Inter-Library Loan 

If you are looking for a book at your home branch library and they do not have a copy, you can see if another branch in the system has it.

You can request for books to be sent from one branch to your home branch for you to pick up. If a system does not have a book, your library system may be part of Inter-Library Loan, ILL, which gives you access to books across the US and even the world!

Some branches charge $1 to get the book. If you are a university student, you may have ILL included in your tuition! 



Save Money on Required Reading for School 

If you have a student in school or are a college student, check your local library for required reading or textbooks.

Most public libraries will have classic books that students read. Colleges libraries have programs where you can rent textbooks for a few hours, and some you can even check out long-term. This really helps reduce the costs of school materials. 



Final Thoughts 

A library is a great place and has so many things to offer its users!

It can help reduce your spending on books and gives you access to a vast system of books, databases, classes, and more. It should be the first place you look for anything educational because, most likely, a library will have it.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya



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