Libraries aren’t just about books any more!
What comes to mind when you think of a library? Tiptoeing and whispering? Shelves and shelves of dusty books no-one’s ever read? Frosty librarians who you’re scared to talk to?
Let’s face it. Libraries aren’t exactly the coolest of places, right?
If you have not been into a library recently, you really don’t know what you are missing! They are not just about books any more.
In this article we take a look at some of the services now offered by libraries that you may not have known about. And will make you want to get back to your local library as soon as you can.
Books – and alternatives to books
Yes, of course libraries do still loan out books. If the book you want is currently on loan to someone else you can reserve it for when it is returned to the library. You can also pre-reserve new books that are coming out.
And it’s not just physical books that you can borrow. At many libraries you can also download thousands of eBooks and audiobooks for free on your smartphone, computer, tablet or eReader.
If newspapers and magazines are more your thing, you can either read them in the library or download them for free onto a digital device.
All this means that libraries are a great way to save money on all kinds of books, magazines and newspapers. If you buy a couple of books (including ebooks and childrens’ books) per month, a magazine per week, and a newspaper every other day, you could easily end up saving around £40-50 per month by using the library instead.
If you prefer watching films, you can borrow DVDs from most libraries. Offerings include films for both adults and children, TV programmes, documentaries and foreign films. This is a great way to spend less on streaming services and DVDs, and save money on your family entertainment.
You can usually borrow several at a time and keep them for at least a week. Enough to keep everyone happy!
Computer and Internet use
If you need to use a computer or the Internet, and don’t have the facilities at home, your local library may well be able to help. You can usually use a computer and the Internet for up to 2 hours for free. This makes a major contribution to reducing the digital divide by providing more people with access to technology and the Internet. It could also enable you to save money on your own broadband and electricity bills.
Many libraries also have facilities to print, although you will need to pay a small amount for this. Some libraries enable you to print from your own digital devices by emailing documents to their printers.
Even if you do have your own device, you may find the ambience of a library a great place to come and get some work done. A change of scenery can often help boost your productivity if you are working from home a lot of the time.
Children’s activities and events
Libraries usually have a wide range of children’s activities. Look out for story telling sessions and reading challenges. Parents as well as children can benefit from the social aspects of these activities. There may also be extra events during school holidays, such as arts and crafts, treasure hunts, nature activities or drama classes. It’s definitely worth investigating what might be on at your local library as summer approaches.
Taking your child to the library for any reason can also spark their interest in reading and help to improve their literacy skills. According to The National Literacy Trust, children who go to a library are twice as likely to read well as those who don’t. As well as the books themselves, children can also benefit from the social experience of being in a library, browsing books and talking about them.
Social and community activities
Many community groups choose to hold meetings and events in public libraries. Most libraries have rooms or spaces to hire for such events. So if you are looking for somewhere to hold a meeting, or would like to get involved in an activity in your community, the library is a good place to start.
The library can also be a safe haven for people that are lonely or are struggling with mental health problems. It gives them somewhere to go; a place with a calm but friendly atmosphere and plenty to do.
Many libraries also have a cafe. If so, its use is not limited to library users: anyone can go. It could be a good meeting place to catch up with friends, and is usually very child-friendly.
If you are looking for a place to run an evening event such as a book club or music group, why not see if the library cafe is available to hire?
We hope that the above information sparks your interest in your local library and that you find resources there to help you enrich your family life and also save money.
Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.