Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Frugal Luxuries: The Library

I’m a reader. Or, I was a reader until I became a mommy. Now I’m a fugitive reader, reading on the run.

My husband’s a reader also, and we have a pretty extensive personal library. At last count it was between 1500 and 2000 books, and maybe 50 magazines (mostly his, I chop my magazines).

That’s a lot of cash sunk into books, I know. We seldom purchase them at full price, and we’ve been collecting them since we were teens, but it’s still a lot of money over the years. Lately we’ve been trying to be good and kick our book buying habits, reserving purchases for books that we know we will re-read by authors that we love.

So, what are the options besides purchasing books? Borrowing them, of course!

Most libraries are public and free for residents, and many have audio books and movies as well! Some are even coming into the digital age, allowing patrons access to e-books and digital audio books. And if your library doesn’t have a book you’re looking for, ask if they have an inter-library loan system so you can borrow books from other libraries.

I love our local library, it’s an old building with beautiful character, and I grew up using that library. We even had our wedding in that library. But their choices are a bit limited. They have fantastic children’s and young adult sections, and personally I love their sci-fi/fantasy section (it’s very much to my taste). But, the rest of their selection, while very good, is small and once you’ve read through it you’re a bit stuck.

To this end we purchased a one-year subscription to a much larger library in the town I work in. It’s $45 a year for a single person, and they belong to a large network of libraries which expands the selection even further. We’re able to get e-books and digital audio books, and the audio books are great for when I’m busy with Max but still want to “read” a book!

If you haven’t been to your local library lately, give them another look. Maybe they’ve been busy upgrading since the last time you visited. Or, if you’re in need of more selection go the next town over. Do a little research and find out what library is connected to a network and has access to digital selections. It opens up a whole slew of options.

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