I was thinking about adding my Secret Library Tip to the very end of this post but decided to appease the blog speed readers out there and offer it up first. Check the library dumpster. You don’t think they can possibly sell, or even accept, every magazine or book donation they receive, do you? Even the items they try to sell, but don’t, can only sit there in the “Friends of the Library” section for so long until they get bumped for the next incoming batch. Libraries also have to continually turn over their own inventory to make way for the new. If these materials can not be sold fairly quickly as a library fundraiser, into the dumpster they go. Recently my city introduced 96 gallon roll-out carts for recycling, which makes it much easier to dig through all those discarded books and magazines. If you don’t add them to your own collection when finished reading you could pass them on to friends and family or donate to a thrift store. Bonus Secret Tip: the larger used book chain stores do the same thing. Go around back and dig in!
I love to use my library’s online catalog to order books, movies and music. Once I receive an email notice that all of my materials are gathered at the branch I frequent I just walk in (after checking the dumpster) go to the holding area for my stuff and check out. There is no charge for books or music and movies are one dollar each.
They also have audio books and a selection of current newspapers and magazines to read. My favorite branch also has a community room that is used by various organizations and individuals to offer lectures, performances and discussion groups, all for free. The Friends of the Library fundraising shelves offer magazines for 25 cents, paperbacks for 50 cents and hardbacks for a dollar.
While there you can also surf the internet, get help with research from the librarian and request books they don’t have through the inter library loan program.
It’s your tax dollars being spent to offer this incredible resource, so get out there and use your library. And don’t forget to take a peek in the dumpster.