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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Frugality 101: Use your Library

An article in the New York Times about the increase in library usage is just the latest of many on this topic. While discretionary spending--on high fashion, elective surgery, summer camp--is way down, library usage is way up.

Use Your Library! That has been the exhortation of every frugality writer for as long as I have been reading on the topic. It's a basic part of Frugality 101, just like goal-setting, menu-planning, checking out the thrift stores, and so forth. And like all those basics, this one bears repeating.

This is not your grandmother's library either. Most libraries have free internet, DVDs to check out, plus, of course, books galore.

My own beloved library has all of the above plus monthly movie nights, lectures on various topics (British Royal Scandals was one such), "Knit and Sip," Italian lessons, cooking demonstrations, book groups, genealogy groups, children's reading programs, teen programs. Those are just the things that immediately come to mind.

Those of us in the "Katrina area" are especially mindful of the virtues of the library. Our library somehow got power back fairly soon. It was packed full of patrons in search of information on FEMA claims. You could use the internet too (in 30 minute sessions, after signing in). I was there for the air conditioning.

I check the on-line library catalog frequently. The other day I put my name on the list for 10 films: Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, Marley and Me, just to name the titles that create nice alliteration. When it's my turn, I will get a call.

We are members of Netflix,whose business is also growing right now, but generally use that for hard-to-find films. The 10 library DVDs I will be getting will save me AT LEAST $25.00 in rental fees. That is money I can put back in my community in other ways, perhaps by shopping at the library book sale!

I saved $25.00. How much have you saved recently by using your library? Do share, dear readers.


Chance said...

I go for magazines and newspapers. I'm a popular culture junkie, and get my fix for People magazine at the library these days.

Interlibrary loan saves me a ton of gas money -- if the book I want is at some other state library, I don't have to drive to the other library, they deliver it to mine.

This is usually the number one frugality tip and what's not to love about the free WiFi, the aircon, the knitting class, book club with childcare, DVDs, free movie nights etc. I think a on point question is what's the barrier for people to using the library, even with this being the most frugal source of all infomedia ever. Is it time - is that it takes 20 seconds to order up on Amazon? I don't get why more people don't use the library.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I certainly utilize my library. As I told you before I like to call myself "thrifty" and "money minded" because I don't want to sound cheap (although I definatly am, lol).
May I ask a question Frugal Scholar? Are you a religious person at all? I promise that I'm not being nosey, I do have a reason for asking? If you'll just leave me a little hint to the answer on me comment box I'll get right back to you and tell you why I'm asking okay?
Isn't Slumdog Millionaire just awesome?? We loved it :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Frugal Scholar said...

@Chance--I think a lot of people don't know what's there. My library now charges for ILL, by the way.

@Midlife--Wow! I don't know if I'm religious or not. I asked my husband, and he said he doesn't know either. We're not being flippant...hope it doesn't come off that way.

The Fabric Bolt said...

Not related to the library, but has a free download of Jean Chatsky's new book. You might want this, as it is a finance book and pretty easy and interesting reading.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

It didn't come off that way at all dear friend.
I understand where you are coming from. Lot's of folks don't really know whether they are or not....the fact that they don't know for sure means to me that at least they believe in something greater than themselves. If they were totally nonbeliever's they would know the answer to that question right away.
Does that make any sense?

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Shelley said...

I, too, enjoy reading the magazines for free. My current favourite reading is biographies of women. Just finished one about Madeliene Albright and before that read about the Queen's mother-in-law. Books on craft and sewing are also good fun. My partner doesn't like movies much so I don't tend to get many from the library. I think the internet is my primary form of entertainment these days, after reading.