How to Save Lots of Money? Use the Library.

Save Hundreds of Dollars When You Borrow From the Library

In January, the clock resets and we can start again. With the best of intentions, we make promises to ourselves to stay away from the cookies or stick to a budget, hoping that the new year will bring new results. But resolutions, anyone can tell you, are hard to keep. It helps to have a strategy in place to keep our focus when the cookie looks too scrumptious to pass up. While I can’t offer any advice about that cookie, there is a card in your wallet that can help you check the “save money” box on your list of resolutions. Nope, not your credit card! I’m talking about your library card. I’ve crunched the numbers for you to show you what I mean.

Save On Books, Movies, and More

Books: Even if you only checked out one book a month from the library, you’d still save about $250 in a year, if not more. That’s because books, especially new hardcovers, can be anywhere from $10 to $30 each. That doesn’t include the other items you can check out, like audiobooks ($25 each) or board games ($20-50).

Movies: From streaming services to movie theaters, that two-hour movie can come at a price. Even small rental fees add up over time, while a theater ticket can cost about $10 each. That’s without the popcorn! Not only do libraries have substantial movie collections to pick from, many also offer movie screening programs too. Check out 10 DVDs this year from the library and you’ve saved over $100.

Genealogy: It’s one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States, with good reason. New technology and digitized records make it easier than ever to find your family’s history. It’s even easier at the library, where you can use AncestryLibrary for free, instead of shelling out $299 for an annual subscription.

Classes: If your New Year resolution includes learning a new hobby or skill, you could spend over $100 for a class at a local college. Or you can choose from over 300 online classes available to you through Gale Courses at no cost. Take as many as you want, learn as much as you need.

Technology: You don’t have to buy a coffee to use our WiFi, computers, or printers. Just one hour of computer use at an office store can cost you $25. But not at the library. Not only that, many of our libraries loan out laptops, tablets, and other digital devices if you don’t have one or left yours at home.

Fulfill Your Resolutions When You Save 

Want to find out how much you actually save by using your library? Each time you go to the library, you can see how much you have saved in 2019 on the bottom of your checkout slip. You’ll be amazed at how that money adds up (one patron saved over $10,000 last year!) and you’ll be able to say you fulfilled your resolution. As another library user commented, “Libraries are so special that it seems too good to be true…to walk into a building filled with incredible resources and walk out with as much as I can carry without paying a cent.”

Written by Jill Fuller. A version of this article appeared in the Waukesha Freeman, the Oconomowoc Enterprise, the Daily Jefferson County Union, the Waterloo Courier, and the Watertown Times. We will be sharing those pieces here on our website a few weeks after each piece has been printed.