Thursday, November 14, 2019

Exploring your local library

Are book stores making you poor? Borrow from your local library instead

With the price of many books being quite expensive, it’s no surprise that heavy readers are looking for cheaper alternatives to support their hobby. If you happen to find yourself spending way too much on books (many of which you only end up reading once), then it’s time to check out your local library to see what they have in stock. You’ll still find plenty to read, but you’ll no longer have to worry about the price on the back cover.

Regardless if you are looking to read a book from one of today’s hottest authors or a series that has received very little press, there’s a good chance that you will be able to find what you are looking for at your local library. By borrowing books whenever you can and only buying books as a last resort, you can save a great deal of money.

If you are the kind of person who likes to be right up to date with the latest book crazes, you’ll be happy to know that many of the larger libraries order in several copies of their most popular books. This is a common practice for new releases, the latest installment of a series, or books that have been made into popular movies.

Even so, without knowing a few tricks, some of the most popular books can be hard to get a hold of. If you are having trouble borrowing a particular book because it is always checked out, don’t wait around for it to be put back on the shelf. Chances are the book has a waiting list that your name should probably be put on. Library staff can let you know how to go about adding your name to the list.

If you are unable to check out a certain book right away, there is no reason to become discouraged. Take the opportunity to read another book while you are waiting. Remember, it doesn’t cost you anything to borrow a book, so you’ve got nothing to lose even if the book you decide on isn’t quite your cup of tea. Simply return the book and borrow another one instead.

There will be times when you have a specific book in mind that you’d like to read, only to learn that the library doesn’t own a copy of the book. To help combat this problem, many libraries offer what is known as an interlibrary loan (ILL). By using the interlibrary loan service, your library can help you to borrow your desired book from another participating library that has an available copy.

The one thing that you must remember to do is return the books on time. You’ll never save any money if you return the books past their due dates because you’ll end up having to pay late fees. Granted, these fines aren’t all that expensive, but they can certainly add up if you continue to keep books past your allotted time. Be sure to inquire about the cost of fines when opening a new library account, so you know what to expect if you do end up with an overdue book.

If you’ve been spending more money on books than you’d like and are looking for a way to save some money, then it’s time to stop buying your books and start borrowing them from your local library instead. If you choose to make the library your main source of reading material instead of your local book store, then you will be able to save a lot of money while still reading to your heart’s content.

A lot more than just books...

But beyond just books, libraries offer so much more to help us learn, grow, and discover. This statement rings especially true in today's highly-digitized world, where smart devices and plenty of other forms of technology have made it a lot easier to take in new knowledge and insights. Libraries, like the rest of the world, have had to modernize their offerings and services by keeping pace with the rapidly-changing technology scene in order to remain relevant and competitive.

For example, many libraries now offer portable Wi-Fi hotspots that you can borrow if you don't have regular Internet access at home. Many libraries also now loan out video games and game devices, as well as offer access to subscription streaming services that allow you to view movies and other digital content. For children and youth, specifically, makerspaces have become really popular.

All of this is above and beyond the usual collections of DVDs, CDs, news and article databases, desktop computer stations, and e-books and e-book devices. And the cost to you to be able to access all of this great stuff? All free with your library card. All of it. So what are you waiting for? Go to your local library and start exploring. If you haven't been to your library in quite a while, get reacquainted. You won't be disappointed! 

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