It took a Finance webpage to point out to the general US public that the stuff you get from libraries for free actually cost real money. It’s a great article showing how much it would cost if you were to pay for them same services yourself. I so loved it that I copied the idea and updated it for the general Australian public.
Now I just need some clever person to make it into an infographic.
Books. Libraries are known for books, offering fiction and nonfiction hardbacks, paperbacks and e-books.
- If you buy: The cost of an average hardcover book is $32.17, an average children’s picture book is $32.65, an average paperback book is $6.99 and an e-book download is between 99 cents and $9.99.
Magazines and newspapers. Magazine titles including back issues, are available for loan. Local newspapers are available for reading in the library.
- If you buy: The average cost of a magazine (monthly) is $7.02 and the cost of an average newspaper subscription is $367.12 per year.
Music and audiobooks. Music CDs from classical to rock ‘n’ roll are waiting. You can also check out audiobooks on every subject .
If you buy: The average cost of a music CD is $23.99. The average cost of an audiobook is $40.60.
Periodical searches. If you are a high school or college student, you will be required to cite sources, footnote your thesis, or find some obscure fact for a class. If you find you need an article that appeared in Time magazine on global warming from 2004, the library will have it on a database. The only cost would be for print/copies.
Librarian access 24/7. If you can’t find the answers you need, libraries await your question. The State Library of New South Wales has the ‘”Ask a Librarian” service which gives 24/7 access to an online librarian.
Internet and Wi-Fi. You can have free Internet access and Wi-Fi; all you need is a library card. Be aware that most libraries use “censoring” programs for juvenile users, and parental consent may be required to use the Internet.
- If you buy: The average cost of Internet service is $51.31 monthly.
Movies and other DVDs. Libraries offer children’s movies, informational DVDs, how-to instructional videos, and major motion pictures.
- If you buy: The cost of an average movie DVD is $23.99, and $3.99 for a DVD rental.
Foreign language instruction. Traveling abroad on business or vacation? Check out the free foreign language learning databases. Using a service from Mango Languages, patrons can choose to learn more than 70 languages. Their interactive learning site offers individual learning, flash cards, and words of the day.
Find your family history. For family genealogists, libraries offer free access to search programs such as Ancestry.com, and HeritageQuest.com. These databases usually need you to search in the library, but some libraries will allow you to search from home after logging in with your library card number. Some libraries also have research librarians and genealogists on staff to help with your search.
- If you buy: The cost of an online genealogy membership is from $17.95 monthly.
Resources for parents. The library is a significant resource for parents. Where else could your children find a free summer program that encourages reading, allows them to take home armloads of books free and usually gives them prizes for encouragement?
The bottom line
Obtaining a library card is simple. Visit the library, fill out a card application, present identification, and you have instant, free access to a world of information. Check out your local library for some amazing programs and unbeatable bargains this summer.