Thursday, April 03, 2008

Frugal Friday: Your Library's Website

As sad and embarrasing as it is for me to admit (and as completely baffling and irritating as it is for my husband to contend with), my library usage does not always correspond with my frugal lifestyle. For whatever reason, I have a very difficult time making sure books get back to the library on time. I have tried various methods to make sure I'm able to do this, including not checking out 1-week only loan items. Yet, there it is. Inevitably, every time we go to the library there are overdue fines on our account. This does not bode well for my desire to respect Eric's hard-earned money.
But I have recently discovered an awesome resource through our library's website. You can sign up for an account with NetLibrary through your local library. NetLibrary has a wide variety of free ebooks available for download, and now they also offer free downloads of eAudiobooks that can be listened to on your computer, or downloaded onto your own portable listening device. Best of all, there are NO fines if you forget to take things back on time.
Our local library website also has a wide variety of free resources available on the web. Here is a sampling of some of the offerings provided by our library:
1. Tumblebooks: Kids eBooks (This is awesome! Definitely worth checking out.)
2. Chilton Automotive repair information. (Requires an account through your library)
3. eLibrary Elementary: A collection of multimedia materials including video, audio, books, pictures, magazines, maps, newspapers, & transcripts of TV and radio shows. For K - 12 users. (Requires an account through your library.)
4. World Book Kids & World Book Online: Contains every article from the 22-volume print set plus thousands more. Also includes multimedia, maps, editor-reviewed websites and more. For kids 3rd grade and up. (Requires your library card number.)
That's just a very few examples. There are over 100 on our library's website. It is definitely worth exploring. And remember, best of all, there are NO fines! (Oh, and by the way, if anyone has some tips for me on how to remember to avoid those fines in the first place, please let me know. My husband will be eternally grateful!)
For lots of other wonderfully frugal tips, please be sure to visit Crystal's blog.


Teresa @ A Life At Home 11:18 PM  

I told my husband about your tip. He says, thanks! He loves to listen to books while he's at the office so this will be good for him.

About returning those books, we get one of the free library baskets and keep all the books in those. It makes it easier to see them so i'm reminded of them often. When they were in different rooms, I would forget about them. I then have a post-it-note that I put on my computer monitor to remind me.

I have also written it on my calander or put it in my cell phone to beep on the day they are due. Can you tell this used to be a problem for us too? lol

Niki 11:47 PM  

Thanks for the tips.

Sadly I am a repeat offender of not returning stuff on time too.

Anonymous,  11:56 PM  

If your library has all those web options available, maybe they also have what mine does: email notification "reminders" you can sign up for that electronically nag you when your books are almost due -- so you can either return them...or renew them online.

Kate 12:02 AM  

LOL...I think my library would have to set up something where they actually came to my house and picked up my books! Does anybody's library offer that? If it does, we'd probably make up any moving expenses in what we'd save on library fines! :-)

Christie 12:02 AM  

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog... and I love your tip! I'll have to see if my library participates in this! You have a precious little family! It's encouraging to see other mothers with many little stairsteps :)

andrea 5:47 AM  

Set a schedule where every two weeks on the same day you visit the library. It will become a routine and plus a bonus of setting yourself up for breaking a bad habit of late fees a thing of the past.

BarbaraLee 10:17 AM  

You poor thing. I know the feeling. I had the same problem. Now I mark the day on my calender being that I look at it all the time. Dd has been ordering online too but she has pretty good about reminding me of returns.
We have been getting movies for free at the library for movie nights.

Queen of Carrots 3:04 PM  

I log onto my library's website on the same day every week, and renew everything that is coming due in that week, even if I plan to return it. I also have a big basket by the door for library books and I am TRYING to teach the children to put them back in there. (My more on-top-of-things friend keeps all her library books on top of the piano at all times unless they are actively being read.) I check back to see what didn't renew and has to be returned.

It's not fool-proof. But except for the book that got buried deep in the couch, we haven't had a huge lot of fines. Those library DVDs can be dangerous, though . . . the fines are so high on them!

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