Tag Archives: library

18 Ways the Library Can Help You Save Money

18 ways the library can help you save money If you’ve been reading this blog very long, you know that by profession, I’m a librarian. If you haven’t been reading this blog very long, welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Pull up a chair and grab a cuppa, let me teach you something!

On a daily basis I’m surprised that many people wander into my library without knowing even half of the services we provide. With that being said, not all libraries are the same. Duh! Your library may not have everything I’m about to share (they might have more!), but it’s always helpful to ask what services your local library offers.

  1. E-Books
    E-books are one of our lesser known services. People often know that we carry print books, but they tend to forget that we also have a generous e-book collection. Most libraries are venturing out into e-book territory. Some even have access to Overdrive, a global distributor of e-books. Overdrive carries amazingly current titles and sometimes you’ll get the e-book before the print book gets on the shelf!
  2. Tax Assistance
    During tax season, many libraries will offer tax workshops or professional advice. Public libraries are great at offering this service.
  3. Workshops
    Most libraries offer some sort of workshops and programming. These programs can range from computer classes to gardening classes and everything in between.
  4. Videos
    People always seem shocked to know that our library checks out DVDs. We’ve got DVDs and occasionally even screen movies. Sometimes the movies screened at libraries are educational, but sometimes the movies are just for fun. And the best part is that the movies are free!
  5. Magazines
    When did magazine subscriptions get so expensive? I don’t know, but it’s a little out of control. Many libraries subscribe to a wide range of popular and scholarly periodicals. Some libraries will even let you take the magazines home for a limited time period!
  6. Interlibrary Loan Services
    Don’t think that your library is limited to just the books that it has on it’s shelf. Libraries work with each other to get you the books that you need. You won’t even have to visit the other library to obtain the book, the book will be sent to your home library! On a related note, in my state you can also walk into any public university and use their services because you pay for them with your taxes! Often university libraries have more money than public libraries or community college libraries (like mine). And more money equals more books!
  7. Makerspaces
    This is a new thing that some libraries are setting up in their facilities. Makerspaces are a place that people can go to tinker, fix and learn to create stuff. Makerspaces first started as places for people to tinker with technology, but I’ve also seen makerspaces that teach users how to sew or create woodwork. The possibilities are endless and this is a really exciting new aspect of libraries.
  8. Meeting Rooms
    Meeting rooms are nothing new for libraries, but they are a service that is often forgotten. Many libraries offer room usage for free or a very nominal cost. Some libraries even have event space for weddings, conferences or family reunions.
  9. Technology rentals
    Calculators, e-readers and laptops– libraries are venturing out and letting users check out all sorts of technology-related objects. Call your local library and check to see what they are  lending out today!
  10.  Out-of-the-box rentals
    Libraries have been known to check out some wild stuff. I’ve seen instances where libraries check out everything from gardening tools to gaming systems. The last library I worked at checked out art work!
  11.  Kid’s activities
    Public libraries are the best for kid’s activities. Story time, yoga for kids and all kinds of arts and crafts will keep those little ones busy long enough for you to browse the collection!
  12. Research help
    I would love to help you with your research questions. Please, just ask me! If you encounter someone at the reference desk, often times, research is their favorite thing to do. Most of my questions involve the location of the bathroom and I would love to help someone research something interesting. Heck, I’d love to help someone research something boring.
  13. Free Wi-Fi or Computer Use
    A home Internet connection is getting more expensive by the day. Seriously. When will someone put a cap on that?! Anyway, libraries offer free wi-fi and computer use. Even if you have your own computer and Internet connection, it’s nice to know that if something ever goes wrong, your local, trusty library should be able to help in that department. I’ve also known people to forgo paying for a personal Internet subscription and just use the library’s wi-fi.
  14. Copying and Faxing Services
    I think every library I’ve ever been to has a copier. Usually library copies are way cheaper than at a print shop too. Many libraries also having faxing services for a small fee. Much smaller than a big box printer, I guarantee it.
  15. Job Services
    With the downturn in the economy, many a brave library took job services onto their already overloaded plate. I’ve seen libraries with resume workshops. I’ve seen libraries partner with superb non-profits like Dress for Success to help women get the business attire they need. And I’ve even seen libraries host job fairs! Holy canoli. Libraries do it all.
  16. Legal Issues
    One of the most common questions I get at the reference desk (other than where is the bathroom?) is about legal issues. Many libraries respond to this by setting up a program to host a lawyer and answer legal questions for free. At the very least, your library should be able to point you in the right direction for legal help.
  17. Free Books to Keep or Books on the Cheap
    Libraries often host an annual book sale to weed out their old collections and gain a little profit for new books. Library book sales keep costs insanely low. Like anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar low. That’s cheaper than Amazon prices, people. At my library, we even have a book rack at the door where we give away (nice, new!) books that have been donated that we can’t use for whatever reason. For free.
  18. Genealogy
    Genealogy help is a growing trend in libraries and man, is it interesting. Oftentimes with your library card, you’ll be able to access expensive sites like Ancestry for free! Libraries also often have local history collections that can be helpful in the search for your own history.

I hope you’ve learned a little something-something today and will reach out to see what cool and interesting things your home library offers. Is that too Reading Rainbow-lesson-ish? I don’t care, call me LeVar Burton ‘cuz libraries bring it out in me. Let me know in the comments if your library offers something out of the norm!




Books for Kids to Give as Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day will be here before you know it, so I started researching books to give to my own mama. In the process, I stumbled upon so, so many cute books for children to give to their moms as gifts. As a kid, I would have loved to give my mom a Mother’s Day themed book that I could read to her. Heck, I still might read her a children’s book and I’m 27, ya’ll. Who doesn’t love story time?!

Here’s my top 5 picks:

5.  what not to give your mom What NOT to Give Your Mom on Mother’s Day
Martha Simpson (Author), Jana Christy (Illustrator)

A list-based book that tells the story of a child giving his mother Mother’s Day gifts better suited for animals.

Easy-to-read for the beginning readers, but this book may be a little childish for kids over 6.

4.  Mother’s Day Surprise mother's day surprise
Stephen Krensky
 (Author), Kathi Ember (Illustrator)

Violet the snake is stumped! Her forest friends are all making gifts for their mothers for Mother’s Day. But Violet doesn’t have any arms or legs or teeth! What’s a snake to do?!

Reptilian-loving kids will love this story. We all know those kids! But they may point out that snakes do have teeth (or fangs) and Violet’s teeth are showing on almost every page. A small flaw in an otherwise cute story.

the night before mother's day 3. The Night Before Mother’s Day
Natasha Wing (Author), Amy Wummer (Illustrator)

One in the many and well-liked “Night Before” series, this book shows dad and the girls setting up a spa day and making a cake for mom.

What mom doesn’t want a spa day?! ‘Nuff said.

happy mothers day! 2. Little Critter: Happy Mother’s Day!
Mercer Mayer (Author, Illustrator)

Mercer Mayer books are true classics. And this book is no different. This time, Little Critter has a special surprise in store for Mom. This interactive book encourages kids to lift the flaps of the pages to see what Little Critter has created for his mom. Fun for kids that need that tactile stimulation!

we love our mom

1. We Love our Mom!
Jan Berenstain (Author, Illustrator), Mike Berenstain (Author, Illustrator)

And for my number one choice, my sentimentality won out. I have such fond memories of my mom reading my sister and I Berenstain Bears stories when we were small. She even had a special voice for each bear!

In this recent addition to the Berenstain Bears collection, Brother and Sister look for a way to show their mom they care.

My mom is definitely getting this one for mother’s day. Maybe with a spa gift certificate as a bookmark?!

What are you giving your mom on Mother’s Day?


The Biggest Before and After EVER!


The old library shelving



We had our reference section sitting on our study carrels for 6 months because the shelving collapsed when we tried to move it : /


I’ve been absent ’round these parts because… (dun, dun, dun!) I’ve had a huge project at work (whomp, whomp). But this is no ordinary project. Last year, I wrote a request to the senior leadership team at my school to fund new library shelving. The old shelving was falling apart. Literally. The furniture in the library was all original to the school, so it has been there since 1969! After much fighting, scraping and the occasional tear, we got the go ahead for new shelving!

Today I am happy to bring you the biggest “Before and After” this blog has ever seen!



I no longer feel like I might get assaulted when I re-shelve books!

I no longer feel like I might get assaulted when I re-shelve books!

Our new bright, airy stacks!

It has been a long process. We weeded 6,000 books from the collection. We researched and designed shelves. And we physically moved and re-shelved 24,000 books.

I am tired. My body hurts. I didn’t know being a librarian often involves so much physical labor. I actually soaked in Epsom salts last night. I am an old lady, but a happy old lady who knows that hard work pays off.


Children’s Books to Read at a Wedding

Wedding vows are pretty important. Vows are intended to be public declarations of love and promise to one person. Vows are meant to be kept FOREVER. Vows are a pretty big deal. And lately I’ve been thinking about how best to do them.

I might be able to say the standard “’til death do us part” vows in front of my immediate family, but I don’t want to say our “real” vows in front of anyone else. It feels too private to me.

George and I are going to say our “real” vows before we do the legal ones. And before I put on makeup because I’m a huge sap and I’ll probably cry my eyeballs out. But that’s ok.

Since I’m a librarian and a great lover of books, I’ve been looking for a passage or a book that best expresses my feelings. This NYPL post from Kristy Raffensberger, a children’s librarian, has some great suggestions.

But in some ways I want to find my own. It’s the thrill of the hunt.

Here’s the few books I’ve found so far…

No-Matter-What No Matter What
Debi Gliori

This book was obviously intended for the love between a parent and a child, but I think it describes romantic love, as well.

Small, a little fox, questions Large, a big fox, if he would love her (or if she would love him– it’s quite androgynous) in increasingly silly scenarios.

“If I were a grumpy grizzly bear, would you still love me? Would you still care?” “I’d always love you, no matter what,” responds Large.

I can definitely be a grumpy grizzly sometimes and I’m sure George could relate to this one.

Guess How Much I Love You
Sam McBratney (Author), Anita Jeram (Illustrator)

Again, probably meant for parental love, but relevant regardless.

This lovely bedtime tale follows Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare through a series of charming declarations.

It begins with “I love you as high as I can hop!” said Little Nutbrown. And ends with Big Nutbrown’s declaration “I love you right up to the moon.”

A Lovely Love Story lovely love story
Edward Monkton

I cried at work reading this one. So embarrassing.

Such a cute premise. Two dinosaurs meet and fall in love. One is an emotionally distant dino and the other dino has a penchant for shopping. Regardless of flaws, they learn to accept one another as they are.

“Together they stand on the hill, telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs. And that, my friends, is how it is with love.”

Have you stumbled across any good wedding readings? I’d love to hear them in the comments!




Love Books: Ray Bradbury

I was terribly sad to hear of Ray Bradbury’s passing on Tuesday. Although the man was 91 and lived a rich and full life (presumably), I’m still sad to hear of a great author’s passing. As with most the passing of other famous folk, I always seem to learn something new about the person post-modem.

I was delighted to learn that Mr. Bradbury was such an outspoken advocate for libraries. He even wrote Fahrenheit 451 in a library!

After watching this video, I felt such a kinship to Mr. Bradbury. We both love libraries and books and cats and life. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury. You will live forever in the pages of your novels.