For many of us, the library is not a place we remember anymore. If I ask my friends right now about it, they would not even know where one is located. Some might not even be able to guarantee that one exists. I conducted a survey at the front door of the grocery store where a library was located within walking distance and got the following results.
Last Time You Went to The Library
- Within the last 12 months: 15.7%
- Within the last 5 years but longer than 12 months: 7.8%
- Longer than 5 years: 76.5%
Primary Reason For Going To the Library
- Study: 21.6%
- Nothing else to do: 9.8%
- Regular event in my schedule: 15.7%
- Don’t currently go to the library: 52.9%
Most people have not been to the library for at least the last 5 years. Some people actually do not like libraries because it always reminds them of their study days and therefore would not set foot in there unless they are forced to.
Only 15.7% of all people surveyed thought of the library as a place they wanted to go to. So after gathering the data, I also went to the library to check it out. I found that there is so much to do in a library nowadays. Other than having those books available, you can also read some of the latest magazines. Unlike bookstores, the library even keeps past issues on the shelf for you to read on-site or borrow them home. Apart from the huge collection of magazines and books, the library also has computer stations for people to surf the web. I went online to make sure MoneyNing.com was accessible and it was loading nice and quick!
The best thing of all is that the cost of all this is $0 other than the cost of transportation. Consider checking out the library next time you are thinking of something to do. It’s an ultra inexpensive activity, and the increased comprehension skill you gain by reading is priceless.
Here are ten advantages you can enjoy for free if you join the two-thirds of Americans who have library cards (as long as you return things on time, of course!):
- Books. If you still enjoy turning the pages of a solid tome in your hands, there are many advantages to borrowing books from the library. Besides being free, library books can be requested online and picked up at any location you like. For e-books, see reason #4.
- DVDs. No matter what you pay to rent movies, it costs more than renting them from the library. Picking up your DVDs from the library isn’t as convenient as Netflix or Hulu, but it’s still frugal.
- CDs. Again, pick them up for free, listen to them for free. Free!
- Downloads. It’s a little-known fact that many libraries allow cardholders to download audio and electronic books, movies, and MP3s from the comfort of their homes. How exciting is that?
- Museum Passes. Lots of libraries hold one or two passes to local museums that cardholders can check out for a day in order to avoid entrance fees. These passes tend to be popular though, so it’s a good idea to stop by the library early in the day to request them.
- Software/Databases. We are fortunate to be able to access a lot of free information and tools from our homes thanks to Google and open source applications, but libraries often have subscriptions to resources like LexisNexis and the Adobe Creative Suite. All you need to access them is a library card.
- Librarians. These people are trained to research and find answers to all of your most probing questions completely free of charge, and most of them seem to get a real kick out of doing it. I’ve asked librarians for help more than once in my professional life, and their support seems like a gift from above every time!
- Classes. Libraries exist to encourage life-long learning, so they frequently offer classes or discussions on a variety of subjects. You usually don’t need a library card to attend these.
- Wi-Fi. Absolutely free. You can even work there if you’d like.
- A Place to Kick Up Your Feet. Also unlike Starbucks’, you can settle in for some quality work at the library, studying or reading without having to fork over $5.99 for a latte and a muffin (*personally, I feel bad about reading in a coffee shop and not buying anything, but I understand that not everyone feels this way). A library card is also not usually required for this.
Besides offering so many important things for free, libraries are community staples and a great place to learn about what’s going on in your neighborhood. I encourage you to check out yours and report back to us the free things you discover that aren’t on this list.
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