Books are not the only things you can get for free at the public library. If you are on a budget, the public library can offer so much more. As citizens, your taxes pay for them, so why not take advantage of the benefits they offer?
Money Crashers says if you are “on a budget, there’s no reason to pay an expensive consultant for information you can gather from the public library for free.” Here’s a look at seven “amazing” things consumer savings site, Money Crashers, says you can get from your local public library.
1. Skill-Building Opportunities
Want to bone up on your computer skills? Are you interested in health and wellness classes? Maybe you want to learn a new language. Well, look no further than your local library for classes, seminars and workshops that can help you accomplish those goals. Some libraries even have opportunities for people in their community to teach classes or skills. This is a great way to boost your public speaking skills, according to Money Crashers.
2. Business Resources
Are you looking for a new job? Maybe you want a career change. Perhaps you want to start your own business venture. The American Library Association credits the public library with helping people to do these very things. Connect with your community through public outreach and get guidance on how to fill out the necessary paperwork for patents, and registering your business with the proper state agencies.
You can also find classes on resume writing and building a business portfolio. Or, if you want to start a nonprofit, your library has resources to help get you started. According to Money Crashers, many libraries “work closely with their local nonprofit community” to provide “workshops led by nonprofit leaders” and have “database subscriptions, workshops, and networking opportunities.”
3. Computer & Printer Access
If you don’t have a computer or would like access to WiFi, the library is your answer. Some even have laptops you can check out. Also, if you need to print copies of documents, for a small fee, the library will allow you to do that as well. You can even print our tax forms and resumes, says Money Crashers. Libraries also have copy machines.
Non-traditional items, like tools, can be borrowed from the library, if yours is one that has them. These are available to patrons who are over 18 years of age.Many libraries now lend non-traditional items, such as tools. This is becoming more popular in libraries across the country. To find the one in your vicinity, go to Local Tools website.
Many are now loaning toys. This is great since we know children often lose interest rather quickly in their new toys, so why acquire the expense? Why not just borrow those popular new toys from the library? No need to worry about germs. Upon return, they are completely disinfected before you take them home. Check our your local public or toy lending library
6. Community Involvement
Looking for a volunteer opportunity? Many libraries have a “friends” group that volunteers in community, and at the library doing things like reading to children. If you would rather make a donation, libraries often have book sales to raise money for various projects that give back to the community and they are always taking donations. You can also volunteer to drive a book mobile.
7. Event Space
Need to host a meeting or event? Rather than leasing a large space for a large fee, try the library. Public rooms are often free or very inexpensive. Money Crashers has seen events “used for anything from board game nights to book clubs to clothing swaps.”
As you can see, the library is more than just books. It is a community resource that you pay for and that is truly “amazing.”
What resources does your local library offer? What resources do you like?Tell us in the comments below or contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com, find us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!