8 Ways Your Local Library Can Save You Some Big Bucks

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8 Ways Your Local Library Can Save You Some Big Bucks

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If you haven't been to a library lately, you're in for a rude awakening.

Dusty editions of On the Road have long since been replaced by digital awesomeness.

Blu-ray DVDs. Interactive websites. Computer rooms. It's not quite up to U.S.S. Enterprise levels yet, but yes, libraries have joined the rest of society at embracing today's modern technology.

Besides offering loads of helpful, resourceful and entertaining items and services at your local library, many have added some incredibly cool and popular tools to their website. Yep, you don't even have to drive into town to take advantage of some of your library's best offerings. You can do it all from the comforts of your home.

Just try borrowing that dusty copy of On the Road in your jammies!

Almost all of the following services are free so you'll certainly be saving some big bucks on your monthly info-tainment budget! Take a look at these 8 Ways Your Local Library Can Save you Big Bucks. Be sure to check with your favorite librarian first to see if any of these are available at your local branch.

Go Public with Notaries

Ever need to get some paperwork notarized? Maybe you're signing a Power of Attorney or some other legal document. Did you know most libraries have a notary public on hand? They generally charge a small fee of a dollar or two, but that's far cheaper and more convenient than heading to a law firm. Call your local library to see if they have a notary public and if so, when he or she is available.

Free Music Downloads

Yes, many libraries have been loaning out CDs for years but did you know some actually let you download free mp3s right from their website? Thanks to music sharing sites like Freegal, you can access a rockin' library of old and brand-new tunes. There's generally download limits set up by your library, such as three downloads per library card per week, but still that pretty much gets you a completely free album every month!

Continuing Education

Looking to continue your education or possibly just learn a thing or three about accounting, medical billing, marketing, design and more? Through a partnership with sites like UniversalClass.com, tons of libraries can offer you access to hundreds of free online courses! If your local library's website isn't currently set up, be sure to teach them all about it.

Get Cultured for Free

Reading can certainly broaden your mind, but so can walking the hallowed halls of some of this country's finest museums. Libraries often have family passes available to nearby museums and art galleries. They're often limited in number, though, so be sure to call ahead or swing by a few days early to get your name on a possible waiting list.

Meeting Rooms

If you have a group or club and need a regular meeting spot, no need to call a realtor. Check with your local library first. Many have meeting rooms available to all sorts of community groups and organizations that deal with informational, educational, recreational, civic and cultural topics.

Take a Yoga or Cooking Class

You probably already know about many of the free classes offered at your library, most predominantly being Story Time for the kids. But there are so many more available. From yoga classes to cooking demonstrations, you can join your neighbors for a fun, free night of hands-on learning!

GPS Units, Kill-A-Watt Monitors and More

When you think of libraries, chances are a Kill-A-Watt monitor is the furthest thing from your mind. Shockingly, libraries lend out way more than periodicals these days. Many have a great selection of electronics available for loan including GPS units to borrow for a weekend getaway or even a Kill-A-Watt monitor to see what appliances are eating up the most electricity in your house.

Get Your Game On

Sick of shelling out $40 (or more!) a pop for a Wii, PS3 or Xbox 360 game that your kids will blow through in a matter of hours? Then don't! Check your local library first to see if they have the latest game for your pixel-loving rugrats to play. DVD, CD and video game collections at libraries have exploded over the years and many are as good, if not better than some video rental shops of yesteryear!

Andrew Kardon, Guest personal finance blogger for leading provider of debt relief, careone services, inc.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Kardon is a professional freelance writer who covers everything from frugal living to electronics to pop-culture. He's also the resident Daddy at Large on Mommy's Busy, Go Ask Daddy where he shares his family adventures interspersed with posts about The Muppets, superheroes, sushi, and video games.


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  • I recently wrote and article that mentioned yet another way to use your library to save money - to borrow course books for your college tuition. The library may not have the latest edition but sometimes that doesn't really matter and it would save you a lot of money to simply get it from there instead of buying them first hand.

  • Sorry about the email address mention in the previous comment. Was an error.

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