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.