Personal Finance 

Fully Utilize Your Public Library

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I live about three minutes walking distance from the local public library and usually visit it about once a week. Fully utilizing the library is critical when you think about how much money that can save you in the long run. Not only that, but think of all the magazines and books you never would’ve read if they weren’t made freely available to you. For those of you who own your home, part of your county taxes goes towards subsidizing the great public resource that is your county’s public library system… so use it to its full potential.

I usually scour the New York Times bestseller lists to see what books are popular now and I’m a huge fan of the nonfiction section. Sometimes, I take a look at Amazon’s list of best selling books and now their most wished for list for books for more books to read. Whenever I see a book I’d like to read, I simply log onto my library’s reservation system, search for the book, and put a hold on it if its available.

Most libraries these days allow you to reserve books entirely online and usually the popular books have holds on them for several months so it’s good to get your reservations in early. Why buy a book and have it take up space on your shelf (you probably won’t re-read it) when you can borrow it for free and have someone else store it for you?

Another good resource of online reservation systems is the ability to renew books entirely online. At my library, you can renew it twice (as long as no one else has a hold on it) entirely online.

Finally, the library also has an extensive DVD collection that has mostly older titles but every so often you can find a new release gem waiting for a temporary home. The collection also has a lot of season sets for popular television shows and that’s usually what has captured my interest.

Take advantage of your local library… you already pay for it so you might as well take advantage of it.

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Fully Utilize Your Public Library”

  1. Eric says:

    I live about 100 yards outside a major metropolitan city. As such, I have to use my city’s public library which pales in comparison (and somehow is in financial trouble and is cutting services. Anyway, my state offers a statewide library card which permits you to check anything out from every library in the entire state. Best $26 I spend every year. the value of this statewide card is immeasurable.

  2. our local branch isn’t great, but the online catalog/reservation system rocks! we can get anything we want delivered to our branch.

  3. Bala says:

    Using public library is a great option. I live in Chester county, PA and we have access to NETLIBRARY where you can download audio books. Here is the link.
    Good luck!

  4. Landlord says:

    I hope you you know better, but I hear the comment frequently that “If property taxes keep going up, I may just sell my house and rent an apartment.”

    Property Taxes are based on value, comparable real property is valued higher for rental use than residential use. Therefore the property owner always includes property taxes in computing the amount his renters pay each month. Everybody pays for the libraries, not just property owners.

  5. jim says:

    Initially I was going to add in something in there about how the taxes (and other fees, such as the parks and rec fee in howard county) are factored into rent (so it’s not just homeowners) but i figured that was too much detail given i was mainly talking about using the public libraries. It’s a very important point though and I hope people don’t overlook that.

    I, however, didn’t know that rental property was typically valued higher… but it does make sense and seems reasonable.

  6. echidnina says:

    I LOVE the library! It’s not just for books… I get movies and CDs there as well. Plus my university’s library has subscriptions to many online reference sites, like the OED, which is super-useful for doing research (either for homework or for idle curiosity… 🙂 )

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