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Save Money at Your Public Library

12 Ways to Save Money at the Library

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Cover art of the children's picture book The Boy Who Was Raised By Librarians Peachtree Publishers
Cover art of The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq

Harcourt
Cover art of children's picture book Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat MoraAlfred A. Knopf

I love public libraries because I love books, but I also love them because I save so much money by making use of them. As is the case with many public libraries, at the Wichita Public Library library cards are free, and except for overdue fines if we don’t get things back on time, that’s our only cost to use the library. There are multiple ways our family has saved money at our local public library. At your library, you can:

  1. Borrow books for all ages. The library has board books, picture books, chapter books, novels and nonfiction for kids, as well as fiction and nonfiction for teens and adults, including large print books and other resources for people with visual handicaps.
  2. Enjoy free programs, including storytimes, films, puppet shows and other performances for children, as well as lectures, programs and book clubs for adults.
  3. Check out DVDs of movies and TV shows instead of buying or renting them. You'll find feature-length movies, including movies based on children's books like Coraline and The Tale of Despereaux, as well as excellent shorter movies based on children’s literature, nature movies for kids, and more.
  4. Get advice from librarians about good books for children, teens and adults. Our library also provides all kinds of reading lists of recommended books, from books for Black History Month to books for specific grade levels. Many public libraries also provide recommended reading lists on their Web sites.
  5. Buy gently used books at the annual Friends of the Library book sale. We have found hardbound children’s books there for as little as 25 cents. It's wonderful to be able to find children's books at bargain prices.
  6. Read magazines. This is big for me because I tend to buy too many magazines. By previewing magazines at the library, I can limit myself to only buying the ones that I want to keep.
  7. Borrow music CDs, from show tunes and popular music to music for kids and classical music.
  8. Enjoy audiobooks for all ages. It’s fun to share an audiobook that the whole family can enjoy while you’re on a long car trip. It’s also nice to gather together as a family and enjoy the classics. Adults and teens also often like listening to audiobooks while they exercise. Many audiobooks for kids come with the print version so kids can read along as they listen. The benefits of audiobooks are many, particularly for struggling readers.
  9. Keep the kids happily occupied – and reading throughout the summer with the library’s summer reading programs. Our library’s program includes all kinds of special activities for younger kids as well as teens. Enjoy summer reading fun at the library.
  10. Borrow framed prints of artwork. That service is available at our main library where free technology classes are also available.
  11. Download ebooks and audiobooks for all ages from your public library's Web site.
  12. Take advantage of library workshops on everything from literacy to computer technology.
I could go on and on. I haven't even mentioned the library's computers and some of the other technology resources, but you get the idea. Getting a library card is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. While every public library is different, they all have wonderful resources available. Even if your public library charges a fee for a library card, you'll save lots of money if you take advantage of all of the resources available there. For children's books about libraries, see my annotated list, with links to reviews, of the Best Children's Picture Books About Libraries and Librarians. Cover art of some of the books illustrate this article.

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