Save Money, Use the Library

6 surprising ways that becoming a library user can have a significant impact on your bank account

Did you know that you could save $50 or more a month by using your local, public library? Avid readers get a lot of benefits from obtaining free, accessible books, office space, resources, and services. Libraries are a public service that is designed to make their resources as affordable as possible for everyone. Whether you’re trying to decrease your spending, living through financial insecurity, are a student, or simply want to explore ways to bolster your savings your local library can help! Here are all the reasons why libraries are a fantastic way to save money.

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Read All the Books You Want, Of Course 

Libraries allow you to check out a mountain of books for free! Most library cards are free. Most libraries try to make all their resources as accessible as possible without charging their users.

Even if you prefer to collect books of your own, libraries can be a great way to try a novel for free. Instead of paying money for a novel you don’t like, start with a library book, and purchase it later if you enjoy it. Students can utilize library books if they don’t want to buy heavy, expensive research textbooks. Simply put, free books will always be one of the best things about libraries!

Quit Netflix, Stream for Free

Libraries’ services go far beyond books, however. Many of them include materials like audiobooks, movies, and magazines, just to name a few. Realistically, you don’t have to spend a dime on a book, movie, or magazine ever again. They can all be borrowed at the library!

Granted, during a global pandemic, access to your local public library may be limited. Thankfully, many libraries include digital access to free e-books, magazines, and streaming services. This can allow you to enjoy your local library’s materials in the comforts of your own home. Whether you’re an avid reader, a film fan, or a magazine enthusiast, there’s something for everyone at the library! Ask your library if your library card gives you access to digital libraries such as Libby, Hoopla, or any other streaming service. Most libraries do.

Buy Inexpensive, Well-Loved Novels

Still, prefer your own copies of your favorite books? Libraries offer another affordable alternative to purchasing new reading materials. Many of them host annual, bi-annual, or regular book sales to clear their inventory duplicates. These can include several other kinds of mediums such as CDs, TV shows, and movies.

Used library books are usually extremely affordable compared to bookstores and Amazon. Some people prefer to collect vintage and used books making library book sales very convenient. Also, many libraries will take advantage of their book sales to fundraise, so you can feel good about your purchase.

Take Advantage of Free Library Resources

In case you weren’t impressed already, you might be surprised to know that libraries include several other resources that are usually completely free to the public. For example, high school and college students can take advantage of free databases that typically require a premium membership outside of the library including test prep books and databases. Lifelong learners will also likely have access to resources such as Mango Languages, Ancestry, auto repair manuals, and much more. Check your library’s website or ask your librarians for more information.

Many libraries include special amenities unique to their location. This can include expensive technology like 3D printers and Circuit devices. For this reason, libraries have always been a haven for people living through financial insecurity. Whether you need to print out a school assignment, a quiet community room for your book club where you aren’t obliged to buy something, or access to historical records, your local library has you covered. You can even consider quitting the gym and using the library’s free exercise resources instead.

Make the Library Your Office

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work positions have been on the rise. Your position may have switched to remote work unexpectedly, resulting in a lack of office resources. You may be a working parent without a quiet, uninterrupted space. You may be a college student without immediate access to office supplies. Thankfully, libraries are a thriving, free workspace.

Don’t let communal work turn you away from library benefits. Many other people visit the library for the same purpose, respecting your privacy and need for a quiet space. If they don’t, your local librarians certainly will. Also, the COVID-19 protocol will always be prioritized, making it a safe environment for everyone. Many libraries even offer free, community study rooms that you can reserve for yourself or others. Other libraries include designated quiet spaces that require complete silence from all users within the area.

Explore New Income Sources

Interested in trying a new hobby? Curious about a specific skill that you’ve never attempted before? The library can teach you something new with little to no cost to you! For example, you can check out a gardening book to test out your green thumb and save money by growing your own food. If you come at the perfect time, you may even catch a glimpse of a local author’s presentation of their latest novel! (Looking at you, writers in the making). If you feel ready to try a hobby out as an income source your library can help you establish your business for success. Libraries offer free classes and services for new entrepreneurs.

Plus, libraries would be nothing without their librarians. These professionals are devoted to making the library as accessible as possible, and that includes affordable education. Many librarians will host classes that cost little to nothing, covering topics like philosophy, cooking, or literary analysis. Keep an eye out for local announcements or ask your librarian about upcoming community events.

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