Sep 062010

Woman with piles of books

10 ways the library can help you save money and lead a richer life

There’s a wonderful source of free materials, events and help—the local library. It’s one of my favorite places. It helps people in so many ways.

1. Do you want to landscape your yard, decorate a room, fix a faucet, make a present, learn a craft, invest for the future, study world history, learn another language or plan a vacation? The library has books that will help

2. The cookbook section provides a wealth of ideas for meal planning. There are books for every taste, ranging from quick, child-friendly meals to sophisticated fare. The library also has books on preserving the harvest from the garden.

3. Are you looking for work? Your library has books on career planning, resume writing and job hunting. I’ve found many books that have helped me build my home business and learn new work skills.

4. The library supplies plenty of material for that terrific free activity—reading. It has fiction and nonfiction, recent best-sellers, old favorites and the classics. If you’re not sure what to read, just ask a librarian for suggestions.

5. The library is for little readers too.  Children can find book to help with school projects and information on their latest interests.  Many libraries also have free story times for children.

6. Libraries have more than just traditional books. They lend audio books on tape or CD. You can listen to a book while you are stuck in traffic, or cooking dinner or doing crafts. Some libraries also lend music and videos and offer computer and Internet access.

7. Do you want to make new friends? Check your library for special events, classes, book clubs, discussions and workshops.

8. Reference librarians are treasures. They can help find the address of a wholesale supplier for a home business, suggest a book for a school project, and dig up a statistic for a business report. Many libraries will supply reference information by telephone or e-mail, so that you don’t even have to leave your home or office to get help.

9. Check to see if your library provides access to electronic databases via their web site. I can find articles from subscription-only newspaper, research information from medical and academic journals, check several encyclopedias, download legal forms, do stock research and even get auto-repair information.

10. We’re not limited to the books in our local library. Through the marvels of Inter-Library Loan, we can borrow books, articles and microfilm from libraries and universities across the United States.

Ben Franklin helped to start the first lending library in the U.S. Thanks, Ben.