Tips for getting the most out of your public library

At some point in your life you’ve likely made use of a library. But as we get older, it’s easy to forget what an important resource a library can be. Did you know they can help you out in all these useful ways?

woman at public library

Borrow books you’ll read only once

OK, we’re starting off with a pretty basic one here. But it bears mentioning because it’s so easily forgotten. When you hear that a book you’re excited about reading has hit the shelves, chances are your first instinct is to rush out and buy it. But once you’ve read it through, how often do you go back and read it again? For most books, the answer is never. The majority of purchased books will simply collect dust until you decide to declutter and donate them to charity or sell them for a buck or two in a yard sale. Save yourself the money, and borrow books you don’t desperately need to have in your possession from the library. Bestsellers can take a few weeks to become available to you, since your library receives a limited amount of copies, and many people want to read them. But if you can bear the wait, the extra $20–$30 in your pocket will thank you for it.

Use it as your new source for movie rentals

That’s right, folks. Libraries aren’t just for books anymore. If you’ve been coughing up five bucks a pop to rent or order movies all these years, it’s time to put an end to that. Libraries have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of DVDs available to borrow. Plus, when you’re getting a movie from the library free of charge, there’s no pressure on you to like it. Heard about a documentary you aren’t sure is your cup of tea? Borrow it, and watch the first 10 minutes to see what you think. Plus, libraries have plenty of old and rare movies you’ll be hard pressed to find in stores or online, so check out your local branch, and see what surprises are in store for you.

To read or to watch? The best and worst movie adaptations of books >>

Take advantage of meeting and conference rooms

Have you ever found yourself desperate for a place to work — or even just to think — in peace and quiet? When you need that kind of solitude, a coffee shop simply won’t do. That’s where the library can help you out. Many libraries have small workrooms you can use free of charge. Just sign up for the time slot you need, show up and work in your own space. Conference rooms can be used for a variety of needs, from small meetings to professional presentations. If you need a space and can’t afford to rent one, see if your public library has one available.

Attend presentations by special guest speakers

Because libraries tend to be large public spaces, they’re ideal locations for guest speakers. The speakers can be anyone, from a children’s author doing a reading of her first book, to a successful investor brought in for educational purposes. Either way, many of these presentations are completely free of charge to whoever would like to attend. So stop by your local library, and find out who will be paying it a visit over the coming months. It could very well be a celebrity you admire or a professional offering tips that could benefit you immensely down the road!

Score excellent deals

As a way to get people more involved in the events of a city or town, many libraries offer special deals to interested individuals. The Toronto Public Library, for instance, provides a certain number of museum and arts passes each week. So if you show up at the right time, you could score yourself free entry to major attractions, such as the Royal Ontario Museum or the Art Gallery of Ontario. Offers vary by city, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. Visit your local public library today, and find out what you’ve been missing!

More on reading

5 Books that could change your life
3 Great culturally diverse books
Books your kids will love


Comments are closed.