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Thrifty Thursday - The Library

With the internet offering the temptation of quick, ubiquitous access to information, many of us have forgotten the old standby of the library.  However, the library still has a lot of value to add and it’s freeMost libraries will issue library cards to residents for free. Many will even let a non-resident obtain a card for a small fee. to get a library card since your tax dollars are already paying for it! What can you get at your library?
  • Books - While blogs and tweets are great quick hits, books often contain the highest quality information as the authors have put the time and effort to distil and consolidate their best material.  Meanwhile the editors and publishers make sure it’s concise.  Looking for something to read?  Focus on learning and self improvement; you can start with my recommendations.
  • Audiobooks – Using audio to consume information while commuting, working out, or otherwise have your hands busy but mind free is a major life hack.  If you haven’t visited a library recently, you might not realize they’ve adapted to the 21st century.  While you can check out a book on CD, many libraries also have the ability to check out titles digitally.  For example, the St. Louis County Library system near me has partnerships with OverDrive and Hoopla, which both carry audiobooks and offer mobile apps so I can listen from my phone.
  • eBooks – Libraries now offer books in digital form as well.  Some are available to read on your computer or phone screen in a browser, but some can even be sent to e-reader devices like a Kindle.  My library leverages the same partnerships for eBooks as Audiobooks.
  • Movies – Why ever buy another DVD? Whatever you can’t get on your streaming services you might be able to borrow from your library.  Again here, many libraries have partnerships to offer digital versions you can stream online.
  • Magazines and Journals – Don’t clutter your mailbox or incur recurring charges.  Grab a copy from the library if you really need it.
  • Events – Check your library’s calendar of events.  Some libraries have speakers on interesting topics or visits from authors.  They can also offer kids programs or educational classes.  The only way to know what you’ll find is to look!
  • More! – At my library I can check out a telescope to go stargazing, a fishing rod and tackle box, musicals instruments from guitars to djembesA west African hand drum., puzzles, tabletop games, and even cellular Wi-Fi hotspots, data included.

A modern library in St. Louis where you can get so much more than just books.

All of these things are free!  Or it might be more accurate to say you are already paying for them whether you are using them or not.  So check out your local library or even go online to browse their website.  You should be able to search many of the things they have to offer without leaving home.

I also feel less of a commitment borrowing than buying.  I can see a book that might be interesting, check it out, and start reading it.  If it’s good, I’ve made a new discovery and hopefully learned something useful.  If it’s not what I hoped, no problem.  I can just return it without any sunk cost fallacy pressuring me to finish a bad book because I spent money on it.

What unique things can you borrow at your library?  Let me know in the comments!


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