Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Love Me Some Public Whatever

I was wandering through the library the other day when I had a little life flashback. You know, one of those moments when you see a replay of part of your history in your mind. Not quite a dejavu, mostly just a vivid memory.

It is safe to say that as a teenager I had major dreams of becoming a librarian, even talked about getting a college degree in library science so that I could be The Librarian (not just one of those book organizer types). I realize now that I have a better sense of, well, fashion than many of the people who choose the library as a full time calling (and I really don't dress that well) as well as more social skills. These clearly make me a bad candidate for such a job. (And also, the "library science" degree required more math classes than I was willing to take. ... I pretty much wasn't willing to take any).

Another thing I recalled was the amount of time I spent in the library exploring the stacks, reading, borrowing, returning and just being educated. I logged enough hours to last me a life time. When you're a teenager your full time job is to learn, grow and explore. The library made that happen.

This memory brought up another thought: I think people don't take advantage of the library the way they should. Heck, I don't take advantage of it as much as I should.

As far as the consumer is concerned, the library, just like other public services paid for with your tax dollars (or, in my case, someone else's tax dollars ... let's hear it for the military!) is a full time practice in frugality.

I don't know if this has occurred to you recently, but let's give it a think: the library has free books for the taking (er, borrowing). FREE. Hello! FREE! This is Bumble Thrift, we LOVE free things here!

The library also has free movies. I think this is something people think about even less than the books. I'm going to go ahead and credit Abigail with reminding me of this last year. While it may take a little more patience than, say, going to the store and buying any given season of TV or renting a new movie, a quick visit to and request via the library Website and BAM! you have a stack of free movies waiting before you know it. (OK, fine. In the case of my request for "The Blind Side," "before you know it" is more like "after 145 other people are finished borrowing it." Technicality).

It was the library that inspired us to cancel our Netflix account. We were receiving, after a "very long wait" more often than not, some newer release movies, but mostly classics and documentaries, several times a week. We were not watching said movies more than on the weekend. It was costing us about $20 a month.

Now, instead, I've moved our Netflix movie list to the library request page. Anything that I'll be waiting to watch after 123,343 other patrons we'll just rent on Redbox for $1 (or, more frequently, free given the number of promos that business runs). And we are saving $20ish a month.

The looser here is Netflix. The winner? My pocket book. I rule this a frugal win!

And give it a think: what other public services (pools, tennis courts, parks) are you underutilizing all the while spending gobs on the same thing elsewhere?

1 comment:

  1. I'm a huge fan of the library but, like you, I sometimes forget about it. Thankfully in our very small town in the middle of nowhere, there are no video rental places, which makes the library an even bigger necessity.