Explore Your Local Library This Month

Visit your library | January Money Diet

Dear Friends,

Today’s challenge is to visit your local library. As you may know, libraries have evolved into places that do so much more than lend books. We live just a few blocks from a wonderful public library, and even though we visit every week I keep finding new offerings. Your neighborhood library can be a rich source of entertainment and education…and best of all, everything is free.

Just the basic process of checking out a book has evolved. If I’m interested in a book, I don’t even need to change out of my pajamas. I simply visit my library’s website and search the book title. Often, I can check out and instantly download an eBook. Otherwise, I can reserve a hard copy of the book. Our library sends us an e-mail when the book is ready to be picked up.  I also borrow movies, CDs and current magazines from my library.

From High Tech to Home Tech

A couple months ago, my son and I had the opportunity to experience the dizzying wonder of Google Glass firsthand, when a librarian had a pair of the smart eyeglasses for patrons to try. Currently, the library has a 3-D printer set up so that people can try making their own three-dimensional plastic objects. Our library also loans other high-tech gizmos like Nooks and Go-Pro cameras.

When my computer died a few years ago, I went to the library and used one of their free computers until mine was fixed. When my daughter was shopping for a used car, she borrowed Consumer Reports magazine and researched the most reliable makes and models. Our library offers a delightful kids’ library and a summer reading program, free classes on a variety of subjects, meeting and study rooms, and regular art exhibits.

Last year our library partnered with our local power company to loan out portable power meters. We were able to borrow a meter to plug into home appliances and learn how much energy we’re using. You may want to check with your utility company or library to see if a similar lending program is in place.

Free Seeds to Grow Food

Some libraries even “lend” seeds to grow fruits and vegetables! Patrons borrow a packet of seeds, and at harvest time gather the seeds from the most robust produce and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.

The Basalt Library here in Colorado is doing such a program, and users report much success with the seeds they’re planting because they’ve already proved hardy in the mountain town’s short growing season. Some libraries are even lending gardening spades and shovels; the Oakland Public Library has 3500 tools for loan.

How About You?

Your challenge is to explore your public library and see what’s new. You could also visit your library district’s website and check out the online offerings. Be sure to let us know if discover something new and surprising at your library!


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Explore Your Local Library This Month

  • We love the library. Our kids both love checking out books and I read at least 2 books per month that I’ve checked out from the library. Who needs to pay for books when you have a great resource that’s ‘free’?

  • We have used the library’s subscriptions to online journals as well for my sons’s high school AP classes.

  • Susan Trimble

    It’s nearly 6:00 pm and am just now reading this. I will check out my library but it will need to be on another day. It is a good idea though.

  • I’m currently reading my second book of the year from my library and have a third one sitting next to me waiting! I put a lot of books on hold in the beginning of January and since I am so far back on the hold lists they’re slowly trickling in at a good rate.

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