The price of entertainment and education these days is crazy. Want to go to the movies? You’ll probably spend a minimum of $50 with tickets and snacks. Do you want to read a new book from your favorite author that just came out in hardback? You’ll be dropping at least $20-$25. Do you want to take a class to learn a new hobby or skill? Sometimes these classes can cost hundreds of dollars.
What if you could do all these things for either free? You can! Where? At your local library. When we think of the library, the main thing we think about is checking out books, but libraries have so much more to offer.
Movies & TV
Did you know you can rent movies and television shows? Our local library has a large section of films and television shows for kids all the way up to adults. Don’t worry that the selections will be outdated either, they have many new and recent titles. Last week we rented The Shack, and Benjamin Is Back.
As for television shows, our library carries both older and newer titles like When Calls The Heart, 90210, Are You Being Served, and The Golden Girls. They also have movies and shows for kids, and teens featuring favorites like Curious George, Mario Brothers, Scooby-Doo, and Teen Titans Go!
Just think, you can rent some of the most recent and latest movies for free, don’t have to pay extra for snacks, and can go to the bathroom any time you need to. Definitely beats going to the theater.
Obviously, you can take out books at the library but did you also know that you can take out magazines as well? Most libraries have a great selection of the latest periodicals. The best part? You don’t have to pay the newsstand price. Being able to take out the latest hardcover books is a great money saver too. Also, don’t forget that you can also take out e-books too.
At least twice a year, the library will have a book sale. Usually in the spring and fall. This is the perfect time to stock up for either summer or winter reading. All books typically start at a set price for paperback, hardback, specialty, etc. Movies and CDs have their own prices also. However, by the end of the sale, you can usually fill a bag for a dollar or two. Some libraries have a small section with books for sale all year round.
Okay, I’m going to sound very old school here but the library also has a great selection of music cd’s that you can borrow as well. This is a great way to check out a new artist that you have been hearing about or introduce your kids or teens to new music.
It’s also a great way to spice up your own music collection when you are getting bored-and do it for free. You can borrow music to accompany a romantic dinner or to listen to on vacation that is kid friendly and not something you have heard one thousand times.
Events for Kid and Teens
Libraries often hold special events for kids and teens. Things like learning magic, make or take craft day, book release parties, activity sheet club (crosswords, mazes, etc.), favorite book character day, exploring nature, and readers’ theatre workshop.
Other events can include comic corps club (for teens who love corps or Manga), DIY stop motion movie, superhero escape room, and scratch lab (this is a free programming language and online community for sharing interactive stories and games). Make sure you check on reservation requirements.
Classes For Adults
Do you want to learn a new skill, hobby, or just need some information about something? Libraries offer classes on all kinds of things be sure to check if registration is required. Some courses you may find available include:
- Preparing for Retirement
- Unlocking Medicare
- Unlocking Social Security
- Outsmart the Scammers (Learn how to outsmart scammers.)
- Adulting 101: Get Grilling
- Adulting 101: Budgeting Basics
- Essential Oils 101
- Microsoft Office Basics
- Cutting the Cable: What are the alternatives?
Keep an eye out online for what classes going on at your library.
Getting Social: Who Says You Have To Spend Money To Make Friends?
Libraries also have groups for many different interests that you can attend for free. This is a great way to learn and make friends. Some groups you may find are:
- Writer’s Groups
- Knitting & Crochet Group
- Photography Connect Group
- Graphic Novel Group
- Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Club
- YA for Adults Book Club
- Sherlock Holmes Story Society
Do you want to meet an author? Libraries often hold book signings for local authors. Sometimes they have just one at a time, and other times they may have an “author event” where several authors come. This is a great way to learn about new authors that may live right in your own backyard. Who knows, you may discover your new favorite book.
Sometimes libraries will host family movie nights, complete with free or low-cost snacks.
This is an excellent opportunity to take your kids to listen to a story and possibly make some new friends.
Many libraries will offer help with your taxes during tax season which can save you some money.
Do you only need to use a computer once in a while? You can go to your library and use their computers for free. You may have to wait, and there is a limited amount of time you can use them, but at least you don’t have to pay for Internet service.
As you can see, there are many ways to save money at your library while indulging in all the entertainment you want. So jump online today, check the calendar, and see what events you can enjoy and groups you can join today. Libraries are one of the best resources in our communities for learning, building friendships and community, and having fun.
Carrie Lowrance is a writer and author. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, The Penny Hoarder, Crosswalk, and Same Journey. She is also the author of two children’s books, Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) and Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine). You can find out more about Carrie and her writing at carrielowrance.com