When you were growing up, how much time did you spend at your public library? The library was where you found the latest books, magazines, and even movies. It was where you met your friends after school before heading home. It was where you used the computer before you had one of your own.

Unfortunately, public libraries are becoming highly underutilized. In fact, some people forget that they exist entirely or don't know what resources they have to offer. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of public libraries and how to make the most of yours.
  • Download free audiobooks and eBooks. Using a free app called Overdrive, you can link to your local library catalog and download audiobooks and eBooks directly to your smartphone. Audiobooks are great for when you're driving or working out at the gym.
  • Utilize print media. If you like keeping up with the latest news but you don't want to pay for a newspaper or magazine subscription, you may be able to find them for free at your local library. Rather than scrolling through questionable news sources on the internet you can go right for the newspaper or magazine you want to read.
  • Make use of computers and other technology. If you don't have a reliable computer at home, you'll be glad to know that you can use the computer for free at your local library. Some libraries will even let you reserve a time slot so you know the computer will be available when you get there. You might even be able to borrow other technology like laptops and A/V equipment.
  • Read full text versions of research articles. When doing research online, you've probably come across resources that only let you read the abstract or a portion of the article before asking you to subscribe. When that happens, simply pop in to your local library. Most libraries have subscriptions to all of the online databases where you can find and read full-text articles.
  • Book meeting rooms. Looking for a place to host your weekly book club meeting? Your local library probably has public meeting spaces that you can reserve for free. You can also sometimes reserve individual work spaces if you need a quiet atmosphere in which to work.
  • Take classes and workshops. Libraries are not just a great place to find print resources - you can also take free classes and workshops for all kinds of skills. Libraries offer classes on everything from writing and research to book signings, social events, and more.
  • Request books from other libraries. Most public libraries are connected to other libraries in the area so, if the book you want isn't available at your local branch, the library can request it from another location. It may take a few days to get what you want, but it's still free and easy to do.
The first step in making the most of your public library is walking in and getting a library card. The whole process takes no more than a few minutes to complete and, when you're done, you'll have a giant array of free resources available at your fingertips. Enjoy!

Frugal Village