Friday Frugal Tips – Libraries are not just for Nerds

by Staff Writer on April 27, 2012

Libraries are the coolest; and everybody should be using them these days.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been to the library twice in the past 2 days. It’s a quiet place to work, free fast internet, tons of movies and music to check out, amazing programs for the kids, oh, and they have books too.

Out local library even has adult education and assistance classes.

My local “knowledge hole” is packed with people throughout the week, which is surprising because the weather is getting so nice here.

I would think that more people would be spending their time outside, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. I can only surmise that the library must be for the “Cool” people. Maybe not, but it makes me think about why the library is receiving so much traffic.

Why do people continue to visit their local libraries when so much information is available online?

Books

Of course everyone knows that the library is known for books. Many libraries offer an exchange system that allows members to request books from other libraries. If one library is out of a certain book, another one will have it.

Today’s libraries are ordering a ton of new books; most of the titles you see at the book store are on the shelves at the local library. These books are free, provided you return them on time. Take a look at this post from MyNextBuck.com to see what can happen if you do not return the books on time.

Audio Books, DVDs, and Music

I love books on tape. I’m able to finish a complete book in one week of driving to work and one weekend of delivering pizzas.

I enjoy music once in a while, but it can get extremely boring. I usually have 3 or 4 physical books that I read at any one time, and listening to an additional one is a nice break for my eyes.

Libraries have come a long way in the selection of audio books they offer. I just finished Thomas Stanley’s Stop Acting Rich which is a great book and one I would have normally purchased. The library saved me $20 by having it on the self.

My library also has a Value Calculator that you can use to see how much value you are getting from the library.

You can even check out DVD movies. Dramas, Comedies, Action, Horror, Family and Kids, even TV shows. Amazing!

Kids Stuff

We currently have 23 kid’s books checked out from the library. My kids love books, but usually get sick of them at the 2 week point. This is perfect because we can rotate the books through our home for free by using the library, saving even more money and shelf space.

Most libraries also have programs or story times for kids. It’s a great time to introduce children to new books and they get some social interaction. Just make sure to bring your hand sanitizer.

Magazines and More

I can’t help but think of Seinfeld every time I see a newspaper at a library. Another great advantage of the library is all the magazines they have.

The cost of magazines can really add up and having a free option is awesome. My library provides many databases to use to locate articles from any magazine you can think of. They also offer several other databases that can be searched for almost anything.

If you are a blogger, these provide a wonderful resource to help research topics. If you have kids in school, the databases are easy to use to help Junior with those science projects and book reports.

Check out some of the databases my library offers. These are available at the library or from home using your library card.

Free Admission

A while back a DeliverAwayDebt reader commented that her library had museum passes that could be checked out and used by members. I’ve checked into mine, and they offer the same thing. I’m amazed at the amount of places that can be visited for FREE with the pass.

Our pass is called the Detroit Adventure Pass and is sponsored by Macy’s. I will be using the pass in the future and of course I’ll include my adventures in a future post. Thanks to Mysti from Digging Out From Our Mess for providing the idea.

Savings

Now it’s your turn. Hop, skip, and jump over to your library’s website and see all they have to offer. All the cool kids are doing it :-)

And the nerds.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Ted April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

I am a library junkie. Especially for books on tape. When I have to travel for work, I am usually in the car for 15 hours a day for 2-3 days (yeah!). So I grab a few books on tape and just enjoy the ride. Makes the time fly by.

We can even get a library card from the local community college. So a wealth of further learning and a university quality library, just because I pay taxes. Yeah!

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Jeffrey Kosola April 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm

@Ted, I’ve never thought about the community college part. We have one within our city limits, I should look into it. That’s alot of traveling dude, your butt must get sore :-) I’m glad you like the audio books too, they are a great way to gain more knowledge.

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Mysti April 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Thanks for the shout out! Glad that your library has a similar program…..we are hoping to use our museum passes again soon.

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Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black April 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

“….provided you return [the books] on time…” Kind of a key point, don’t you think? And one I’m currently having difficulty with…

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Financial Samurai April 24, 2010 at 11:24 am

Love the library too. I could spend hours there, or at your local book store, but that’s bad I guess.

One of the reasons I purchased my house was b/c the local library was just 4 blocks away. Score!

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Jeffrey Kosola April 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

@Mysti you’re welcome, it just took me a long time to writing about it.

@Jolyn use a calendar program to remind you of the due date. It take a minute and can save you some coin. Just remember to return all your books before you move :-)

@Samurai That’s great, I love the internet but I love the bookstores and libraries almost as much. There is just something about all that knowledge and learning at our fingertips.

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Brandon Schmid April 24, 2010 at 11:34 am

Why do so many people forget about the library?

I remember when I first started my personal finance/ business journey 6 years ago, I was basically at the library every other week. I was broke and in college and I had no money of course to buy books.

So many libraries now offer books on CD and various other feature that they did not have before.

Cheers!

Brandon

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Jeffrey Kosola April 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

@Brandon I think the free programs the libraries offer are just awesome. One thing many people don’t know about are the bulletin boards that most libraries have. These have many local businesses that can be used for anything from house cleaning to house remodeling. I was looking at ours the other day and was amazed how many people put there cards up. It much quicker than even a somewhat targeted Google search.

@Forest I think the blogging class would be awesome, good luck with it :-)

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Forest April 25, 2010 at 5:23 am

My local library back in Montreal (Westmount Public Library) was awesome. As well as DVS’s, Audiobooks and real life books they held many many free classes and local interest groups. I was arranging a How To Blogging Course but I never got it finalised and started as their schedule was booked beyond me leaving Canada… I hope to be doing this course at a local place her in Egypt soon.

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David April 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I love the library, and not afraid to say it! Here’s the thing – you can request dvds and books so you don’t have to waste time looking around for things, and you get exactly what you want “for free.” Plus sometimes if I’m killing time magazines and newspapers are in good supply!

There are some books I deem “worth buying.” Same with movies. But I would rather borrow a book from the library and read it if I can, and only buy books the library doesn’t carry.

Lots of money to be saved by making use of it!

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Jeffrey Kosola April 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

@David Yes sir that’s a great idea about using the request system. I can see our whole library from my computer, then make my requests and pick them up on the way home. Great idea.

@Monevator I can only imagine the people watching in your neck of the woods. One of my favorite past times is people watching. Even though you may have many non-english speaking people I’m sure you can still read their body language. When I lived in China, that’s how I survived. I was able to watch people’s faces and body language, 90% of the time I could figure out what they were trying to say. It’s pretty cool.

@Jackie That sounds awesome, a cafe in the library :-) I’m glad someone has one. I’ll have to bring it up to our city.

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Monevator April 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I like libraries for all the usual reasons, but also for the wonderful range of people you get in them.

I work weird hours, often from home, and in London in the UK which admittedly is one of the most multicultural places on the planet (arguably *the* most) but still, I can easily go to one of my local libraries and be the only native English speaker in there, despite most of the books being in English! I find that inspiring.

The other library near me is a more local affair, and not such a global melting pot, so I get a pick depending on how I feel.

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Jackie April 26, 2010 at 8:16 am

Our library actually does have food inside too. A cafe, so it’s a lot like going to a Barnes & Noble or something, except everything but the food is free! They also have rotating local art exhibits too, plus all the other stuff you mentioned. I love stopping in…

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Megan April 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm

The Farmington Hills library does have a cafe inside – it’s nice because my boyfriend doesn’t share the same love of reading as I do. I could spend hours there while he’s more “grab what you need and get out”. He doesn’t mind grabbing something to drink while I wander around for awhile – and it’s still waaa-ay cheaper than going to Barnes and Noble and buying all the books I read!

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Monroe on a Budget April 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I’ve used the Detroit Adventure Pass program twice – once to DIA, which is not on the list this year; and once to Arab-American Museum. I think Arts and Scraps will be my next visit.

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Roger, the Amateur Financier May 13, 2010 at 1:52 am

Ah, libraries; always a good way to save money on books for those of us who love books and reading. I’ll have to get a new library card now that I’ve moved; far too many books are currently going unread.

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Jeffrey Kosola May 13, 2010 at 6:10 am

@Roger I hear you on the too many books going unread. I love to read but have a hard time “getting around” to it.

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Marie October 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Great tip here. Anything to save money, but still be entertained. Thanks. I just ran across this website and love it.

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