Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Library Is Your Friend

Most of you know this already, right? But most of you view books as a necessity, not a luxury....certainly not something to be "halved".

But I'm finding that most of my reading needs can be met by my local library. So here's my question for you: if you find a large portion of your income goes to books (and a large amount of shelf space, too), are you making the best possible use of your library?

Here are some tips:

1. If you need to keep on top of the "latest" books, make sure you frequent your library's "new book" display. It's usually right near the door which makes it easy to hit first. I find something interesting and timely nearly every trip.

2. Use the online catalog. Keep a running list of books you want to read - books you see mentioned in the New York Times or hear about on the radio. Check your library's catalog from the comfort of your home and put holds on the ones you want.

3. Don't see what you want? Use the inter-library loan system. I can't believe I waited so long to make use of this. Once you start you'll be hooked. At my library I can order up to 10 books through the inter-library system at a time and I get a call from the librarian when what I want comes in. I make my choices online. Totally easy and totally free!

4. Load up! Every time you go to the library check out a whole host of books from many genres. Not sure you'll like it? Who cares....it's free. I can take out 50 books on my card at a time. Each of my children could take out 50 more with theirs. And its good for the library - a lot of their funding is based on actual usage. The more books checked out, the more funding they can request. And the more books you have lying around the house, the less likely you are to blow your budget on purchases.

Some books are so special you want to own them, but you don't need to own them all. Make the library your friend and find the balance that's right for you.

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