The library – a big green money-saver

This week is a busy one, so my posts might be scarce, but I wanted to raise the topic of libraries — what could be a cheaper and greener way to take advantage of books, magazines, movies and music than to share them with our fellow citizens?

Our local library has launched a new online tool to estimate how much we citizens save by using the library. My total was $58.92 in return for every $1 spent on taxes.

We are fortunate to be subscribers to one of the best library systems in the nation. Now, I don’t know how they came up with that ranking, but I do know I can almost always find what I want at the Denver Public Library. (The exception is books about spinning … I need to take some spinning wheels to their staff meetings and start getting some recruits, I think.)

But even when they don’t have the book I want, it’s easy to get it. I can do a search of other libraries in adjacent systems or across the nation; order the book online; and pick it up at my local library. So I just ordered the two books I wanted to read — including one that is out of print and available used on Amazon for $49.

This summer, Little Cheap heard about an Australian novel about horses online. She could not rest until she read it, but it too was out of print and priced exorbitantly online — $33 and up. But an interlibrary loan brought us the book in original hardcover, from the UCLA library. And along the way, we found the movie, starring a young Russell Crowe, in our local library’s stacks.

Not only is it green to share materials, it’s green to order books online and have them delivered to my local branch. I go to the library at least once a week, typically, and the branch I choose is right on the way for many of our errands.

Thanks to the library, we’ve read novels, explored tons of juvenile nonfiction, read the Magic Treehouse series in its entirety, explored interior design, test drove cookbooks before investing in them, and watched videos from Crash to Jeff Corwin to obscure Bollywood films.

Have you been to your library lately?

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9 thoughts on “The library – a big green money-saver

  1. Melissa says:

    I couldn’t commute without the library. 🙂 I love that my time going to and from work on the train is often spent absorbed in a book so that I hardly realize the travel time spent.

  2. Ellen Moeller says:

    We LOVE our library. In all honestly, I only “rediscovered” it about a year ago. Oh, the $$ I was spending on cookbooks!! My kids read so much now, always getting hooked on a certain author and our library (Boulder) has everything! Or can get it. I’ve loved the environmental books and the cookbooks. We LOVE it.

  3. Carleton Place Public Library says:

    I love the online tool to calculate how much you save my using the library! If more people realized how much they could save, libraries would be better funded in general, I think.

    Thanks for the great information!

  4. LT Ellis says:

    Our family has made the weekly (at least) trip to the library part of our routine. We use the online services to order things through inter-library loan. There is no way we could afford to purchase or store the vast amounts of library materials that we have all been blessed to read, listen to and/or view. We are saving money and the earth’s resources as well as gaining a much wider view of the world. I can’t say how often we have been browsing through the stacks and found some treasure that is out of print or obscure and would never be found at a mainstream bookstore.

    We have also virtually eliminated all broadcast television watching (commercials are long gone) through the DVD and VHS offerings. Our child (11.5) has a regular diet of educational and arts video to balance entertainment and we as parents can pre-screen anything we feel is questionable beforehand. Our home is also regularly filled with music from the most eclectic sources.

    Lastly, but extremely important, is the library staff. They are helpful and friendly and have watched our child grow up in their library. Frequently they will make personal recommendations based on past materials. I can’t imagine the loss if we were to be without this amazing resource.

  5. L'an says:

    We, too, love the library. Little L’an loves that it is right next to the park (thus combining New Books! and A Walk! with A Visit to the Playground!) and especially love the option of having books sent to our local branch for pickup, since the local branch is smaller than your average McMansion and has a pretty minimal in-house selection. And we’re really really loving how much music they have on offer lately, in addition to the books and movies. Yay rah for libraries!

  6. jmisgro says:

    We were just at the library yesterday. Our library system doesn’t have a calculator like yours. But I know I wouldn’t be reading much without it! Yesterday we borrowed 2 movies. Depending on where you rent that could have been $5-$10 dollars.
    Libraries ROCK!

  7. Melinda says:

    I love the library! And I love the internet holding system our library has. While each individual Seattle branch is small, together they hold pretty much every book you’d want to read (and you can also request that they purchase books they don’t have). So I search for it online, wait until it carpools its way over to my library via the interlibrary loan service, and go pick it up!

    With children, I would think the library would be indispensable considering how many books kids can read each week!

  8. Dawn says:

    As a librarian It is wonderful to see all these positive remarks about using your local libraries. Thank you!

  9. Condo Blues says:

    I love how using the library keeps the book population down at our house – because we love books. A lot. I have four full bookshelves behind my computer desk to prove it!

    I use the library to test drive books that I want to buy. I search my library’s on line catalog first before going to the bookstore. If my library has the book (and they usually do) I reserve it online and ask to pick it up at the branch closest to my house. I get a phone call when it’s time to pick up the book. I read the book and more often than not decide it’s not a “keeper”. If I do decide that I want to have the book to refer to later I can buy it later (or ask for it when it’s gift giving time.)

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