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Five Ways to Save With Your Library

Annie 24th Apr 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Libraries are amazing places. You can borrow any book for free – and if they don’t have it, they’ll usually order it for you. Many libraries now have the Libby app, or an equivalent, so that you can borrow eBooks for your Kindle or eReader, too. But did you know there are more ways that your local library can help you save money? Here’s a quick guide to five ways you can save.

Borrowing Books

CDs, DVDs, Toys and Games

Community Cafes 

Free Computer Access

Free Activities and Learning


Borrowing Books

OK, this is the obvious one but we can’t mention a library without talking about the incredible book borrowing service they offer. Did you know that if you want to borrow a book your library doesn’t have in stock, they will order it for you? So, if you’re looking for a specific research book or want to get your hands on a title that isn’t currently on their shelves, you can ask your librarian.

Libraries are moving with the times, too. The Libby app is the most common, but your local library might have their own app, for borrowing eBooks. So, if you love reading on your Kindle or eReader, you still don’t need to worry about buying them. You can borrow them online!

The same goes for magazines. Libraries give you access to a wide range of newspapers and magazines, which is particularly helpful if you’re researching something.

Your librarian is your resource, too. Whether you’re not sure how to navigate the Dewey Decimal system or need a recommendation for your next summer read based on your previous reading history, talk to your librarian. They’re passionate about reading and books, and very eager to help fellow readers find what they’re looking for.

If you like to read proper books instead of eBooks, but can’t get to your local library, ask them about home library services. Many will offer a drop-and-collect service for people who are unable to physically attend the library, with volunteers helping you to order and collect books on your behalf.

CDs and DVDs

Did you know that libraries also have a media section? Instead of spending on DVDs you watch once or CDs you get bored of after one summer, you can borrow from the library for free. Save hundreds of pounds each year by using the media library instead of Spotify, a TV licence, and streaming subscriptions! You might not be able to watch the very latest streaming shows, but if you need to save money while keeping yourself and your kids entertained, the media library is worth checking out. You can also borrow audiobooks, so you can save on your Audible subscription, too. Lots of the media, such as audiobooks and magazines, will be available on your library’s app (like BorrowBox or Libby – your librarian can tell you more).

Many libraries have a toy library that includes board games for all age ranges. If you want to have a fun night in with friends, or keep the kids entertained during the school holidays, take a look at what your library has to offer. Make sure you return all the pieces for the next borrower!

Community Cafes

The old school belief of being shushed at the library has moved with the times – while the main library areas are still quiet, many now have adjoining cafes. These are ideal if you want to borrow a magazine and buy a coffee for a quiet hour to yourself, or to meet a friend in a child-friendly cafe environment.

Libraries are notoriously under-funded, and their cafes offer them an opportunity to raise funds all year around. The prices are kept reasonable, to encourage people to choose their library over a chain coffee shop down the road, and they’re often run by volunteers.

You’ll often find that community groups are run from the library cafe too – from knit and natter to guerilla guardening, ask about what’s on in your area to find like-minded people who use the library as their community hub.

Free Library Computer Access

If you work from home and would like to be able to go somewhere to work for a few hours, but don’t want to sit in a loud cafe, check out your library! Many have booths you can hire for private study, but even working from the tables in the library will be nice and quiet. Most libraries will also offer you a slot to book for your child to do their homework on their computer, up to two hours usually, which gives them access to a lot of the library online subscriptions for research papers and magazines etc to help with their education.

If you can’t afford a computer, most libraries have computers you can book time on, too. And you can get some printing done, at a small surcharge (usually around 10p a sheet). And if you’re struggling to get to grips with technology or accessing particular information (such as getting onto your Universal Credit online account), your library will have a tech savvy person who can help.

Free Activities and Learning

Your local library will run a range of schemes to help people of all ages with their education. There’ll be Reading Well courses for children and teenagers, to help encourage them enjoy the past time of reading, as well as Story Time readings for younger children on a regular basis. Your (or your child’s) favourite author might also come to do a reading during a book launch tour, so sign up to your library’s newsletter to stay ahead of event news. During the school holidays, your library will run extra events for children to give you somewhere to go on a rainy day and participate in a free activity.

More than this, libraries will offer adult education courses. These may be courses to help you learn to read and write, or they might be one-off free or low fee courses to encourage you to try something new. It’s a great way to meet new people as well as try something out – and if you’re a homebody or unable to attend the library in person, many will record ‘Ted Talk’ style videos of their education sessions, so you can listen to talks in your own time at home.

Find your local library here. Remember, some communities have smaller ‘reading cafe’ libraries with a central hub larger library, so make sure to check out the different ones in your area!

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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