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One of the Best Free Places Out There


Our family has discovered one of the best free places out there – the public library. Many of you probably know about this. It’s not anything new and public libraries are talked about often when it comes to saving money. My work schedule used to overlap the library’s open hours so we never checked it out.

My hours are a lot more flexible now so I was able to stop in the library one morning while out and about running errands. It had been a while since I stepped foot into a library. Boy, have they progressed with the times. I couldn’t believe the vast amount of videos and dvds available at my fingertips. I saw many of the movies we have rented in the past at the video store.

A little sad, I know. We weren’t practicing one of the biggest tips in frugality – use the public library! Oh, the money we could have saved! They even had Star Wars on DVD. You should have seen the smile on my son’s face when he saw that they were there and they were free to borrow. He knows that means no more paying to rent them from the video store and he was really excited.

In the past, I headed to Amazon.com or eBay when there was a book I wanted to read. Lately I’ve been doing some research on learning styles. Our library is a small one and didn’t have a book I was interested in. I requested an interlibrary loan and in a few days I received a call that the book was in. That was faster than an order from Amazon with free shipping. And the price was unbeatable.

I feel silly mentioning this, but maybe there are others out there who haven’t yet checked out their public library. Even if you happen to work during the library’s open hours (like I did), maybe you can stop by during a lunch break. I should have done that and I regret not making the time to at least stop by for a few minutes to check it out. Our public library really is a treasure. I feel like we hit the “saving money” jackpot.


  • Reply Shawna |

    We love the library! We go as a family once per month, and it’s my favorite day of the whole month! The kids pick out a few books each, I get some for myself, my daughter does her homework, and my hubby brings his book to read while we’re there (he’s collecting a series of books at the moment…the type of series where he might have to refer back to previous books in order to understand the current book). Anyway, we treat it as a family outing, and it makes it even more fun!

  • Reply C |

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I recently rediscovered our public library and what a find. I agree, free use of books and movies is the best. Frugalness is hip, if you know where to find the treasures.

  • Reply Andy @ Retire at 40 |

    Don’t be sad since I too have recently rediscovered the joys of the local library. In ours you have to pay a small amount for DVDs, CDs and magazines but obviously all the books are free.

    It’s a great way of not spending and also, my library has lots of Personal Finance books too! Double bonus.

  • Reply Young snowbird |

    Many libraries have all their materials online, searchable from their website. You can use your card to reserve books, and then pick them up on your lunch hour or pop in after work to get them off the hold shelf, check them out and take them home. Some library systems even let you return books to a library different from the one you picked up at. Check and see if your library has a web site, and if they share materials between branches or even counties. So many large libraries have super electronic resources, like learn a language programs that you can download onto your computer and learn at home. Awesome stuff!

    Remember too that libraries are supported by property taxes. A little bit per household goes a long way! I’m partial to libraries – I used to be a librarian! : )

  • Reply Sammy |

    I have to bow my head in shame… I still buy books and rent dvds, but I really need to visit the library and save some money!

  • Reply Sandy Hipple |

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I just recently went to our public library for story time with my child. It was then that I realized our libraries have an online catalog and request site. I can literally pick out my books and pick them up at the desk. I haven’t gotten any books yet. However, your post reminds me its a place I need to use for free books and videos.

  • Reply Maniac |

    I just discovered Swaptree.com where you can trade your books, cd’s, dvd’s and video games. I made my first trade and it went very smoothly. Looks like there are many personal finance books available for trade. All you pay for is the shipping. Trading is FREE.

  • Reply Amber C |

    We love our local library. We have to pay $1 to get books from a branch library if our library doesn’t have it but it is still well worth it.

  • Reply Julie Mead |

    Another thing is I found out that libraries are so different then they used to be-all of ours have LOTS of toys (little people, legos etc) for kids to play with and kids areas are really kid friendly now (not just books)-with fish tanks, and kid chairs etc. We go to ours a lot, especially in the winter. Plus there are usually other kids playing, so my son gets a playdate too!

  • Reply Ian |

    I love the library. I could stay there for hours. Not just to read, but where else can you go for peace and quiet when you have three children.

  • Reply Aya @ Thrive |

    It’s just another one of those its-worth-the-effort type ordeals that not a lot of people take advantage of. It was a pain for people to have to actually go into the videostore and that’s why we now love and have Netflix. There are times when I consider if paying for a service is worth it, like in your example, if I can get the same thing for free if only I made the effort. My pet-peeve with libraries are that sometimes, the books are just plain dirty and I like to cuddle in my bed when I read…plus, I’m a slow reader. It’s still a good deal for people who don’t mind the fuss.

  • Reply Beverly |

    All of my 5 children are grown now, and they all love to read and learn!! I attribute this to taking them on a regular basis to the Library when they were little.
    And maybe to DNA, my great grandfather had a saying — that our family quotes from time to time. He was a farmer in Ohio, and when it would rain or be really bad weather and he couldn’t work outside as much, he would say “its a heartsen day”, which meant he could stay in and read. Just a thought.

  • Reply jw thornhill |

    We use the library all the time. We don’t have a membership to a local Blockbuster or Netflix. Since getting in so much debt we have also stopped buying books at Borders. So, they use the library to rent all their movies, games and books.

  • Reply DCS |

    I love my library, especially the main branch downtown. I can check the whole regional network’s catalog on the website, as well as place holds, and even see if a book is on the shelf or when it’s due if it’s not. They email me three days before things are due. They even have self-checkout machines so you don’t have to wait in line at the circ desk.

    I think people’s views on libraries are determined when they’re a small child. In my family a trip to the library was treated as a fun, exciting, after dinner weeknight outing. It was just a small suburban branch, but my brother and I used to BEG Dad to take us to the library. My library card was the first thing I carried in a wallet.

  • Reply Robert Stroget |

    The library is great, but I agree with the person who posted Swaptree. I LOVE THAT SITE!!! I canceled my NetFlix account and get all of my movies through Swaptree. I also trade a ton of books, but the great thing is that I can trade a book for a DVD, CD for a books, etc. I love it. Thank you Swaptree!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Esther |

    What a great post! I recommend everyone find out what their local libraries have to offer. We are fortunate to have a fantastic system in Cleveland, where you use one library card at any of the various library systems in the area. You can even search the catalogs from other counties, and ordering books from these libraries is free. They have fantastic kids play areas and programming, so it’s a great family outing. But mostly we order books & DVDs using the online system and I just pick them up from the nearest branch on the way home from work.

  • Reply Maddysmommy |

    We love the library. We visit our local one once every two weeks sometimes more. I stopped purchasing new books and now interloan or borrow from friends. We also have a bookshelf downstairs in our apartment garage and many people place their books on there for others to read. When I’m done I put them back and add ones that I don’t need anymore.

So, what do you think ?