Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Best Frugal Resource? Your Library!

This is the library in my town.

My love of the library began at a young age. I remember shuffling into the school library with my kindergarten class. I was wearing pig tails and bell bottoms and I was looking forward to the upcoming recess where I just knew I was going to win at kick-ball. They sat us down on the carpet and began to explain the Dewey decimal system and the fact that I could take any book I wanted, home with me. My eyes got huge as I realized the treasure of all these books at my disposal. I forgot all about recess and loaded up my bag with as many books as it would hold. From that moment on I was hooked.

I devoured every Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book I could find. I moved on to mysteries and adventures, dramas and history and secret Judy Blume books that I had to hide from my Mother. In my teen years I went through a romance novel phase. My 20’s were filled with books on parenting, marriage and cooking. When I needed a break from the monotony of changing diapers and wiping chins I’d leave the kids with my husband and head to the quiet library to soak up the peace and solitude with my favorite magazine. My 30’s were filled with books about personal growth, gardening, cooking and more parenting. I spent hours researching new projects. And as I enter my next decade I’m sure the books I read will reflect whatever is going on in my life.

As a frugalist, the library is my number one money saving resource. Not only can you check out books but most libraries offer a host of other resources, all with my favorite price tag… Free. When I hear about a new book on the New York Times List I go directly to my library and reserve it. No more spending money on books unless it’s something I want in my home library. Need a movie? I go get one for free at the library. Libraries across the country offer free kids programs and entertainment all year round. There is free internet access, free computer usage, free tax help, free seminars, free art shows. You can find newspapers from across the country, magazines that save you from spending their $4 to $5 price in the grocery store line, and free genealogy resources. When I decide I want to try my hand at making homemade soap, instead of purchasing the book I borrow it from the library. If I want to garden without pesticides or go Vegan, I research it for free at the library. When we took a vacation that had lots of driving we checked out free audiobooks to listen to on the way. They even have kids buckets full of toys and projects that you can check out. When my kids were curious about the Beatles and I didn’t own even one CD, we got them at the library and listened to them for weeks…for free. The freebies are endless.

If you don’t already have a library card at your local library, now is the time to get one. Even if you have to pay a small price for the use of your library you’ll more than recover it each year in the money you’ll be saving. And it’s always fun going home with a bag full of entertainment for you and the kids, all without making a dent in your checking account.


Emma @ She Got Married said...

Oh Gayle, I LOVE the library! It's seriously a huge treat to me. I love having a fresh stack of books, magazines, dvds, cookbooks waiting on the coffee table. It's the best. :)

Sandi P said...

I too love the library. A couple of things I have found out that Georgia has (not sure about other states)is a state-wide Library system. If I am traveling in GA and run out of audio books, or it's been raining 3 days, so I've read everything I brought with me I can go to the library wherever I am and check out some more. Then I can return them to my library when I get back home, or in the next town. I thought that was great. My local library can also order books for me from other libraries across the state.
One more thing that would make anybody's "frugal" list - Georgia public libraries have passes to the state parks that can be reserved and checked out. Use it for a week or so and get into any GA state park without paying the entrance fee. I think it might include parking fees too, but not sure since I just moved to GA and haven't had a chance to use this service yet.

Anonymous said...

I remember going to the library since I was about four (but I know my mom took me there even earlier), and was reading Nancy Drew books before I had started first grade.

Finding out the location of the local library is one of the most important steps I can take to feel more at home in a new town. I haven't checked where the nearest ones north of Seattle in Suburbia are, but it's never too late.

I'm moving in from Europe, and have a lot of books in my native language(s) in my grandmother's basement that I sort of want to bring along eventually, but freight is expensive... so I am looking forward to hunting down the English versions of any books on architecture and gardening I can possibly find. (I am drafting blueprints for our home, by hand, thanks to a structural engineering background...) To add to the list of any literature of interest, all and everything available about the zoning laws and building codes in the area we're looking at will be on the top of my reading list.

I still rather research projects at the library, and may go there for peace and quiet, as well as space to spread out my research project. I use wikipedia only to look at the references, if prepping any academic writing, as I don't trust an encyclopedia that anyone can edit for more than its free list of possible sources of information.

This is especially important, if you want to maintain an academic integrity in a place of tough competition. I'm definitely teaching my children that, as there is a good chance that they will be at least partially homeschooled by me and my spouse.

momma-lana said...

Love the library too. When my children were growing up they asked to go everyday! In hubby and mine's hometown in FL you could check out works of art! Real framed artwork!! How cool is that?

Betsy said...

Don't forget to check out the library's digital resources--they subscribe to all kinds of databases that have practical knowledge (like car repair) and very scholarly knowledge. There are also free internet-only libraries like the IPL2 and state-run internet libraries. More great academic resources for free! (and they are usually more accurate/legitimate than random web content)