Did you know the library can save you a lot of money? I have several posts lined up for the beginning of 2018 that will share some money saving lessons we have learned through the years. I would enjoy hearing your ideas in the comment section at the end of the post. Let’s get this post rolling – 5 ways we save money at our local library…
1. Free Books
Let’s start with the obvious, buying books adds up pretty quickly. I read 30-40 books a year but my children seem to read that many books in a week! We try to make it to our local library once a week to check out a selection of books and audio books for the kids. It is not unusual for our oldest daughter to read through her new selection of books in 48 hours.
We receive a large number of books as gifts or ‘hand me downs’ but not enough to satiate our voracious readers. Our local library has an excellent librarian in the youth section that makes helpful book suggestions, teaches younger kids how to find books, and reminds parents how to use the Dewey Decimal System 🙂 I have to say that our local librarians play a big role in making our library a special place.
2. Audio Books – The Secret to our Sanity
Our local library has a wide selection of audio books to check out. Those CDs help maintain peace, order, and sanity in our minivan. As much as I dislike being stuck in big city traffic, the kids seem to dislike it even more! When we push play on an audio book the kids get quiet, stop pestering each other, and get involved in the story. Currently we are listening to one of the books in the Penderwicks series. My wife introduced our family to audio books – she’s a genius!
Audio books have been a very successful part of our road trips. We try to limit screen time whether we are at home or on the road and listening to a good story really helps. This summer we listened to several books on our road trip up to Michigan and back. My wife does an excellent job of finding books that are engaging for our kids (10 & 6) and adults too.
Our library also has a good selection of e-audiobooks available on little MP3 players that can be checked out. The kids enjoy popping their headphones into these devices and listening to a good story. Of course there are also audio books for grown ups. I enjoy listening to podcasts and audio books while I drive. The library offers a great savings in providing audio books to borrow for free.
Our library offers a great variety of events for all ages. When our girls were little, my wife often took them to storytime at the library. The librarians do a great job of working with our schools to provide reading nights for students and their families. There are also performances and lectures for adults of all ages and interests.
I was curious about the operating budget for our local library so here are a few facts and figures from the latest budget report in our city:
- Annual operating budget of just under $1.7 million for the library
- 23.0875 employees – that .0875 of an employee must be a really short person 🙂
- $253,547 was budgeted for library materials and supplies
- Just over $39,000 of library fines were collected in the last year
- With a population of 38,884 citizens, our city budgets $43.59 per citizen towards library operations.
- If I did the math correctly, $61.73 of the 2017 property taxes our family paid went to the library. (I got way too fascinated by the annual budget report for our city. Who knew J.C. Penney was in the top 10 employers in our city? #8!?!)
OK, enough chasing rabbits. The last library event we attended featured owl nuggets for dissecting, crafts, snacks, story time, a nice display of books available for checkout, zero cost, and a very engaging library staff member who had put it all together. Our two kids and two friends who were with us were the only kids in attendance. Most library events are really well attended but this example illustrates that the library is a hidden treasure for families.
4. Online Content
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you all the resources our library makes available online…there are so many of them! To name a few, there are eBooks, audio books, access to periodicals and online libraries, and even streaming movies and other digital content. It seems the library always has new content available online…and again it is all FREE.
5. Movies and Music
Obviously ‘Dad is Learning’ is a big fan of the library because it is a place for life-long learning…but the library is also a place for fun and entertainment. Our library has a space just for teens with content that is specially curated by the librarians. There is also a snack bar area where I often see folks on their laptops or enjoying a good book. There is a huge variety of offerings that also include DVDs and CDs…yes…people still use those 🙂 The movies that can be borrowed for free from the library appear to be very popular.
There are a lot of other savings and benefits that our local library offers. I hope you have access to a great library where you live. Libraries have done a great job of adjusting hours, content, and access to maintain relevance in an increasingly digital society. The personal knowledge of a librarian is something that stands out in the age of Siri and Alexa. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the savings and benefits that your library offers. Share them below and I look forward to our conversation…
Last week I was still working on the video I would present to our church on the relief work in Dominica. Here is the finished product…