Unless you’re rich, you need to be taking advantage of your local library. There simply is no reason to be paying for movies or books when it’s so simple to borrow them for free. And if you think it’s old-fashioned or square, then have fun living a life spent to impress others.
If you’ve been following any self-improvement sites , you should be well aware that reading books is essential to long-term personal growth. This article isn’t about that, or even recommending titles; it’s universally understood that reading improves your critical thinking skills, imagination and empathy, while also broadening your horizons. But, purchasing books can get expensive quick–especially if you’re a fast reader and have a good amount of time set aside.
And, since the rest of your entertainment choices matter as well, you’ll be relieved to know that most libraries loan out movies, CDs and even video games, too. So, instead of just listening or watching whatever trendy new show or music happens to be streaming on your service, you can proactively search for edifying, unique, challenging movies and CDs in order to continually expand your horizons–all for free!
Moreover, by taking advantage of modern technology, Libraries have made it easier then ever to search for, request, and manage all of your checked out items. You can set it up so you only actually have to step into the library say about once a month to drop and pick up your lot of materials.
Here’s a quick rundown showing just how easy it is with my library. I have no clue how it is for anywhere else, but San Diego County has really gone above and beyond in making the entire process easy and intuitive.
First, the library has a very simple Login page:
Once Logged in, you can access your current checked out items to see when your items are due; your requests to see if any are ready to be picked up; or your reading history to review all of them items you have ever checked out. Also, if you have failed to return any items in time, this page will show your fines due. I opted-in for e-mail notifications, so I receive an e-mail 3 days before an item is due, which, along with being able to renew items with a click, makes it very easy to avoid ever owing fines.
This page gives details on every item currently checked out. The most important information is the due date. If the due date is nearing, you can renew items from this page be either selecting individual items or just clicking renew all. This makes it very easy to avoid late fees. The only thing to watch out for is holding onto in-demand items. Almost everything I check out (books and movies) is older material not in demand at all. If you are, however, checking out newly released movies or books you might not be able to keep them longer than the initial period (For San Diego it’s 3 weeks for books, 1 week for movies) because you cannot renew an item that has holds on it.
Unless you want to spend a lot of time browsing at your library (this can be fun from time to time), I recommend you learn and start taking advantage of the online search and request system (I hope) your local library has. San Diego makes it real easy to search for any item you want with an advanced search that lets you filter by many different parameters including the material type (medium):
And, you aren’t just searching for items at your individual local branch. The San Diego Library system connects all participating San Diego Libraries, and you can request material from any branch and it will be delivered to your local branch ready for you to pick up all for free. Furthermore, if none of the San Diego libraries have the item you are searching for you, you can then search the SD Link locations, which include many universities and colleges, and have it delivered to your local branch for free. The amount of material available with an easy search and a few button-clicks is absolutely staggering.
The requests page makes it very easy to track what books you have holds on, and the status of the holds:
What are you waiting for?
If you haven’t already, check out your local library, start an account, find out what kind of systems they have, find out what their check-out periods are so you avoid any kind of fines, and start requesting material. You can read any book you want for free! We’ll start getting up some great posts on recommended books but in the meantime check out these:
- Vox Day: top 50 Sci-fi & Fantasy, 2012 Reading List and 2014 Reading List,
- Farnam Street’s Reading List
- Roosh’s Reading List: 1, 2, and more book reviews (There are 14, each links to the next)
- Mike Cernovich (Danger and Play) Books Men Should Read and Books by Ethnic Authors.
- Redpill Review: Great Books for Men