I am not sure what I did with my time and money before I became a regular at my hometown library. My library card is free but the services my library offer are priceless!!!!
Here are a few items I get weekly at my library and an estimate of how much money I am saving each week:
Two movies a week - $7.00 rent, $20 family going to movies
Books on Cassette * 1 a week at about $30 each
One Book a Week for me - $30 if bought
One Book for Child a week - $10 if bought
Recipes/Menu Planning * priceless
Computer Management/Internet Access/Family organizing * about $10/wk. Magazine Subscriptions to 10 magazines a week - $4 each/$40 week
Newspaper Subscriptions to 3 daily papers $1 each x 5/ 1 weekly paper- $20 estimate
Die-Cuts for scrapbooking and scrapbooking ideas - $10-$20 a week * quiet place to work on scrapbook * priceless
Research Sons Homework * priceless
Son kept busy instead of at babysitter - $20 a week or more
So you can see that even in a low estimate, I am saving $200 a week or more. You can see my local library is more than a place with an advanced card catalog. It is more than books and periodicals. It is even more than a home away from home. My local library is a nice relaxing retreat.
I find myself there any time I have even fifteen or twenty minutes to spare. I can read all the local newspapers in just a short time and catch-up with the neighbors. Sometimes I just look up a recipe or two. Sometimes I take a mini-vacation by looking at books of other places. The atmosphere is very calm. There are sections to sit quietly, to work at a table, or to even work in-groups. I have used the conference room to meet with friends and to tutor students free of charge. The library has a "home school" section where lessons can be checked out and used to supplement classroom materials.
I can I can use a computer workstation, access the Internet, access on-line databases, and do any desk-top publishing I need too. I can copy and fax things, which also saves money. I make my own greeting cards, book covers, etc. The Internet is much faster than my "at home" connections. It is nice just to stop in sometimes to check your email if you have had a day on the road or have a meeting after work that will cause you to arrive home late. I save lots of money each week by checking out videos, DVDS, and books on cassette.
My husband who commutes about an hour a day has really enjoyed getting books on tape. The children's department has programs which are fun and engaging. My thirteen year old son has grown up with the library. He always participates in the Summer Reading Program and earns prizes. He has Autism and there have been many programs we have benefited from. He has grown socially by participating in the Children's Programs. We can meet other parents and families too, to form an informal support group. He has played card games and attended many events. Where else can you go dressed up as Harry Potter and be accepted? He also uses the computer. Children computers are kept in a special section where staff can help them develop their skills. They also have learning games on file. We have meet many authors and attended book signings. A signed book makes it very special to a child and also to mom and dad. As an avid scrapbooker I can use their Ellison Die Cut Machine and I can scan things. My library also has a genealogy center and we are working on our family tree and local history. They also have a bookstore which sells used items. They have a book on loan program so I can get access to hard to find items.
Our family has grown in cultural, professional, educational and recreational understanding. We have meet others from our hometown and befriended them. The library is a growing resource! My entire family has grown in appreciation of the Arts and literature.