Public libraries are one of the older institutions we have here in the U.S.! The first publicly funded library was established in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1833, and today there are over 16,000 public library buildings across the country!
But libraries are not just a relic of the pre-internet era. In fact, libraries continue to offer valuable information and services to their communities, free of charge! Your library exists to provide these services, and using these services is a great way to save money.
So today I wanted to shed some light on library services by sharing 7 unexpected items you can borrow from them for free! If you don’t already have a library card, you’ll definitely want one by the end of this post! :-)
Disclaimer: While many of these items are available at my local library and may be available at yours, I can’t make any guarantees! For specific details about the services offered by your local library, I encourage you to visit their website, give them a call, or stop by to chat with a librarian. :-)
7 Surprising Library Services That Can Save You Money
1. Mobile Hotspots
In addition to offering internet access at the library itself, many libraries are making mobile hotspots available to their patrons too. Check-out periods are typically limited to a few days at a time, but it could be a lifesaver if you’re in a bind!
2. Book Club Supplies
Many libraries offer book club supplies in the form of a Book Club Kit or a Book Club in a Box. These kits include multiple copies of a popular book and a discussion guide about the book.
With one of these kits, hosting a book club has never been easier (or cheaper!) Just check out a kit, distribute the books to your group, and set a date for your book discussion!
Some public libraries feature a “seed library,” where you can borrow seeds to help start your garden. Obviously you won’t be able to “return” those specific seeds to the library, but you’re encouraged to donate seeds from the plants you grew so someone else can make use of them!
Libraries with seed libraries will have information about how to collect seeds from your plants so you can donate them.
For your next family gathering, why not plan a game night? Many libraries offer board games, video games, and even lawn games for patrons to check out.
In addition to offering cheap family fun, checking out a game from the library is a great way to “try before you buy.” You can learn the rules and try it out before committing to buying your own copy.
5. Tools & Equipment
Increasingly, public libraries are offering way more than just books! In fact, many libraries now feature tools, equipment, and other items that patrons can borrow or use for a variety of purposes.
For instance, our local library recently got a new 3D printer. They’re now offering classes where kids can learn to use the printer to make their own action figures!
In addition to 3D printers, your library might offer power tools, instruments, kitchen tools, science equipment, and more. Ask a librarian to find out what tools and equipment your local library has stashed away!
6. Admission Passes
Another great service that many libraries offer is access to local cultural centers! Our local library offers one-week rentals of Utah State Parks Passes, meaning we could spend a full week visiting our beautiful state parks for free!
7. Meeting Space
Need a place to hold a business or community meeting? Check with your local library! Many libraries have conference rooms you can reserve for free.
And in the rare event that your library charges a fee to use their conference rooms, it will likely be significantly cheaper than it would be to rent a conference room at a commercial workspace!
Visit Your Local Library!
If there’s anything I want you to take away from today’s post, it’s that library services can save you money and enrich your life! You can learn more by visiting your local library to talk with a librarian!
They’ll be happy to tell you exactly what kinds of surprises lie in store for you there! :-)
Have you ever borrowed a non-book item from your local library?