Why We Love Our Library

When you’re trying to get out of debt and making what seems like pennies, entertainment is one of those non-essentials that gets cut out of the budget. After Mike lost hours at work, we had to revisit our monthly budget, and our tiny entertainment fund got the boot.

But you shouldn’t really feel sorry for us. We’ve found a way to enjoy the latest movies, magazines, music, and books without an entertainment budget. We’ve found our local library.Why We Love Our LIbrary

Mike and I have always been fans of the library. We both have great memories as kids of going to the library for story hour and coming home with stacks of books to read. As a babysitter in my teens, I discovered that the library is a great place to take little kids on days when everyone just needed to get out of the house for an afternoon. When Mike and I got married and moved, we got cards to our local library and would periodically get books or DVDs out.

But now that we have no entertainment budget, we have become serious library lovers. And here is why:

Free Internet Access

We have wi-fi free at our house now, thanks to our generous landlord, but that was not always the case. For the first year or so of our marriage Mike and I would frequently spend an afternoon at the library checking emails and browsing the internet. It’s free to sign up for an account to use one of the library’s computers, or you can just use your own laptop. The only downside is that sometimes the connection is slower if you need to do some up or downloading, and you can’t do any of that stuff on the library’s computers.

Magazines

The library gets more magazine titles than I even knew existed. We’ve discovered some fun ones- like “Dream Kitchen Magazine” (a girl can dream can’t she?) Recent issues have to stay in the library, but you can take home any past issues. We’ve used them as great resources for things like decoration ideas, learning photography tips, and getting inspiration for the kitchen.

Music+Books on CD

Mike has been a bigger fan of this aspect than I. He’s been able to find some fun new music by taking home CDs to put on the computer and enjoy. He also “read” The Count of Monte Cristo by checking it out on CD and listening to it while running machines at work through his iPod. We also checked out a whole stack of books on CDs for a long car trip last spring. It’s a great way to pass the time!

DVDs

Seriously, even if we had an entertainment budget, I would never ever pay to rent a DVD again. Our library gets new DVDs the same time Blockbuster does, and you can rent them for free for two nights. We’ve enjoyed a whole host of movies recently, both old and new, thanks to our local library. In fact, just last night we enjoyed the movie Millions. Two nights ago it was Matchstick Men. And besides major motion pictures, you can also find educational DVDs, TV shows, and documentaries. And I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Books

This is an obvious one, but we really have branched out from just checking out novels recently. Mike taught himself web design just by checking books out of the library and spending hours in the study alcoves reading them and watching tutorials online. I have learned a few new tricks in the kitchen by checking out cookbooks. When Olivia was having trouble sleeping on her own, I checked out this HUGE stack of books to read, and I finally found a solution. This was a lot easier, actually, than doing a web search because I just couldn’t find the depth I needed online. The library is where i got Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. The library is a great resource for deciding if you like a book before you buy it. I’ve even heard of people getting their textbooks through the library and avoiding exorbitant prices at the bookstore.

Family Fun

We have loved going to the Saturday morning story hour with Olivia. She loves watching all of the other kids and “dancing” along to the songs they sing. Story hour has become a fun family tradition! Also, although we haven’t done any of these, I know there are a whole ton of fun lectures and events that the library regularly hosts. Things like “Doggie Days” when there is a festival out in the parking lot and you can bring your pet dog, or a lecture series about how to start your own business, to a lock-in for local teens… the library’s calendar always seems to have some interesting events scheduled. And they are always free. 🙂

How about you? Do you have an AWESOME local library? Have you found any great resources there that you use regularly? I would love to hear why you love your library. 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Why We Love Our Library

  1. Before we moved in with our housemate who has Netflix, we used the library system as our own personal Netflix. 🙂 Many libraries have an online request set up, so we would use that to put things [mostly movies :)] in our queue. They’d send us an email when our item was in, and I’d grab it while I was out running errands. It’s such a hidden gem!

    • Oh that is a great idea, Jonelle. I never thought to try and reserve DVDs. Beats showing up and hoping they have it! Although, we usually just browse until something catches our eye anyway.

      • Yeah, you just have to make sure that you put some of the requests on hold so they’re all not “requesting” at once….otherwise you may end up with 5 complete seasons of tv shows, which may or may not have happened to me. 🙂

  2. I think I see in the photo up there the book “Salt”–what a great one! I read it and loved it. And another good girl book is “Reviving Ophelia”. : )

    • We have the reservation system too, Jen. I’ve used it a few times, especially when there is a book that seems to be extra popular that I really want to read.

      I think I read Reviving Ophelia in high school for a project, but I only have vague memories. I will have to go back and read it! I just finished reading the latest Francine Rivers release, Her Daughter’s Dream. I love Francine!

  3. Another awesome thing is that you can go online (at least in Hamilton County) and reserve books ahead of time! Saves all that walking around and being bummed if your fave isn’t there.

  4. I don’t know if other libraries have this feature, but ours (Laughling AFB) has foreign language books and DVDs. A few months ago I checked out a French language DVD and started learning in my spare time. Do you know how expensive those things are?! Its awesome. I hope our next library has them as well. Anyway, I really love your blog!

    • Thanks! We may have to see if they have any resources for learning a foreign language. Not that we have any need to learn… but I did take French and Spanish in high school, and Mike’s always speaking the German he remembers from High School. 🙂 That’s so awesome that you are learning French just for fun. Maybe you will get stationed over-seas someday?

  5. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 10: In-Home Entertainment (Which Includes the Cell Phone) « The Debt Free Family

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