Monday, October 12, 2009

How To Get Free Books, Movies and CDs

Once upon a time, there was an institution where people went to find books and magazines before the advent of the modern coffee shop/bookstore--the library. Back when you were growing up, or going to school, libraries were great sources of information for your book reports, papers, and essays. On the continuum of enjoyment, libraries probably went from really fun when you were young, to places you dreaded later on. When you were growing up, you might have watched a large group Disney movie. Getting older and going to school, you were reminded that the library was not a place for relaxation, but a place for studying and research. But, you are older now and it's time to have fun again.

Sometime from when the Internet and modern-day coffee shops and bookstores took off in the 90s we forgot about these fantastic places called libraries.  Modern bookstores don't often inspire me as I find most are very corporate and austere in nature. Today, when we are all trying to cut back and make ends meet, I would encourage you to re-think the library. Take a look at your local branch. You may be down right shocked at all of the great offerings that exist there: used DVDs of once first-run television shows and movies, music CDs, journals, newspapers, and who could forget--books. What is not at the library in-house can often be found online. Sure, the Internet might be able to link you to free resources, but by clicking through a library's webpage, you may be able to get access to collections and resources not easily found, or free, elsewhere. Today, I perused a DC public library webpage and found out that I can borrow DVDs from the HBO series The Wire (which is a brilliant show) there.

The next time you are thinking about buying a book or renting a movie, see if you can borrow it for free. To get you started, there is a directory of public libraries nationwide on this site Public Libraries. It is pretty comprehensive, and if your branch is not listed, it will probably show a link to its county webpage counterpart. Of course, some libraries are nicer than others but you may be surprised at the extent to which libraries have offered more amenities, like Internet and Wi-Fi, as well as a more updated look. Library cards, are or will be, soon a thing of the past. Instead, libraries will have key chain-type barcodes that can easily travel with you. Some libraries even let you check out books on your own (so you can play librarian) and renew them online.

Run, but quietly, to your library today.