I remember going to the library when I was a little kid, and guess what I went there for? Umm, yeah, books, because that’s all they had! Today, things are very different at the library. The card catalog days are long gone (am I old enough to start aging myself with comments? That’s depressing). To find an item’s location today, you simply run a search through one of their many computers.
When you check something out at the library, they definitely don’t stamp those little cards in the books anymore (sheesh…I think I AM old). Nope. When I check out 10 books I just stack them all on this plastic mat and BOOM, all the books are checked out at once. The library really is going high-tech these days. Can you guess what else they offer? The list below may shock you.
Free Stuff at the Library – My Shocking List
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love free stuff (or at the very least, really cheap). This is why I have been drawn into the library once again – everything about it spells “FREE”! Check out my recent discoveries of free stuff at the library (or more specifically, at my local library, but hopefully yours too!) that I never before knew existed.
#1. Electricity Home Monitoring Kits – Many libraries now have these electricity home monitoring kits on hand. You can check them out, plug them into an outlet, and then plug any device into it to see how much juice it’s sucking, and ultimately, how much it is costing you when it’s running! I used it on my sump pump that runs every 2 minutes or so…and I probably shouldn’t have. That sump pump is doing a great job keeping my basement dry, but it’s costing me over $100 a year to run.
#2. Free Database for Everything Imaginable – When I click into the database section of my library page, I get all of the options below. Then, when I click on the selection it takes me to many subsections of those databases. Naturally, I clicked on “Business and Investing” and was surprised to find the MorningStar research tool. With my library bar code and pin number, I was able to access what would have otherwise cost me a membership fee!
The next link I clicked on was Car Repair and curiously entered in my car’s year, make, and model. I know that I’ll have to bleed the brakes on my car soon, so I thought I would look for instruction on that. Sure enough! It was super easy to find and showed me step by step instructions with pictures! This database is awesome! The multitude of free stuff that you can find at the library – who knew?
#3. Learn a Language – If you were thinking about spending hundreds of dollars to learn a new language, STOP! The library has language software for FREE!! I learned Spanish long ago and would like to brush up some day soon – and guess what I found? Check it out – I can’t wait to test this out!
#4. Story Time – This isn’t necessarily all that interesting for me (a 29 year old male with no kids…), but if you have kids, check out if your library has story time. It is a great excuse to get out and enjoy some free activities (and possibly sneak away to enjoy yourself for a few minutes as well – within the confines of the library of course).
#5. Job & Career Accelerator – Looking for a job or want to accelerate your career? Apparently the library has help for this too!
#6. Legal Forms for Wills, Divorce, Real Estate, and more – Instead of paying out $35 to purchase a living will from a trusted website (or many times more if I went straight to a lawyer), I decided to check out my local library. Sure enough, they offer forms for many different types of situations, including a last will and testament – exactly what I was looking for!
…and if you have a tablet…
I recently bought a tablet and have used it WAY more than I thought I would. Of course, I’m using it to Tweet and send Facebook updates for this site, but I have also discovered the many high-tech options that are free from the library! Check it out!
#7. Downloadable Music – Through freegal and hoopla, I have access to millions of downloadable songs and thousands of music videos! For me, free stuff like this is a way better option than buying a CD from the store or downloading a single for a dollar off iTunes.
#8. Audio Books – While music is great, sometimes I’m more in the mood to learn, especially for long drives. This is where free audio books are amazingly handy! To check them out from the library, I simply go through the library site and it shows up for use in Overdrive app. When the time is up for viewing it, it simply goes away (no more fees for not bringing the books back! Yay!).
#10. Movies – It was pretty surprising to see some decent movies in the hoopla library app. My girlfriend and I have already viewed one and it was excellent! I’m still trying to figure out how to cast it to my TV though…
#11. eMagazines – I, being a personal finance guy, was excited to find the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine through the library zinio app. The download is super simple and again, it just disappears when you timeframe is expired. There are also magazine titles like, “Better Homes and Gardens”, “Bloomberg”, “The Economist”, and many more! Again, for FREE! 🙂
#12. Digital Comics – And, surprisingly enough, they’ve also set up a way for you to check-out free digital comics. I’ve never really been a comic book guy, but I still think it’s a pretty cool option that some might enjoy.
Save Your Money and Check Out Your Local Library
There are probably a ton more free options that I missed, and your library might even offer more than mine! If you want to save money and stay entertained at the same time, be sure to check out all of the free stuff at the library in your area!
What type of free stuff does your library provide? Have you even checked it out?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.