Why spend money on information and services that your tax dollars are already paying for? Your public library has a multitude of benefits for its patrons, and you’d be smart to take advantage of the library’s free resources.
- Check out nonfiction books on various topics to educate yourself how things work in gardening, engines, solar panels, or identifying edible plants – whatever you need or want to learn about!
- Use the library’s photocopier to make a copy of a checklist, document, recipe, pattern, or design you may want to use later.
- Use the library’s laminator (ours charges only pennies per page) to laminate an important document so that you will have it safe and waterproof.
- Use the library’s PCs for free to do any sort of online research you may need to do. Bonus points if you do research while the kids are attending a program or story time. It’s a great way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone!
- Not everyone has a printer at home and inkjet cartridges are very expensive! Use your library’s printer for free or for a very nominal amount to print out the results of your research, recipes, designs, or patterns. Sort them by category in a 3-ring binder for your own Survival Mom binder!
- Read the newspapers without a subscription at home, to keep up on current news events. It’s just one more of the library’s free resources.
- Read the financial magazines/journals/periodicals for free, to keep up on current financial events.
- Read the back issues of Mother Earth News or Foxfire Magazine to learn all kinds of handy simple living methods.
- Attend presentations that the library may offer with guest speakers on all kinds of topics. My library has had presentations on gardening, raising animals, clearing out the clutter, and financial topics. Usually free, these are valuable ways to learn skills from someone who maybe has more experience than you do.
- Drop off the kids at a children’s program the library is offering this summer, and you’ve just cleared out a little “me time” to work on a project you might need to complete or start! Yes, you do have to go pick them up on time after the program is over!
- Check out a fictional book with a preparedness angle such as Patriots or One Second After. Read the book and see what questions or issues it raises in your own mind and how you may apply concepts and ideas from the book to your own plans.
- Going on a long car trip this summer to check out a possible bug-out location or test out your camping skills? Be sure you let the kids check out books and other media they may enjoy for the long car ride. It will allow time for the non-driving adult(s) to do a little reading or research of their own without interruption.
- Check if your library allows you to check out an e-reader or tablet to “try before you buy” if you’re considering making a purchase like this to store lots of books and documents for use in the future. I tested out 3 different models before I bought my Kindle Fire.
- If you know there’s going to be a rainy or stormy day, rent a DVD from the library that can be played on a fully charged up laptop (even if the power goes out). Having a diversion ready to go will keep both children and adults calm and entertained while waiting out the weather situation.
- Take a look at specialty magazines to learn something new without spending a dime. For example, browse a cooking magazine and jot down a new recipe to try. Take a look at a crochet or knitting magazine and get yourself a brand new pattern or stitch that you can try yourself or teach to your kids.
- Ask at your library if they have discards that they give away or sell at a seriously reduced price. Twice a year, my library has a book sale that benefits their programs. Hardcovers sell for $1, paperbacks for 50 cents, and recent issues of magazines can be had for as little as 5 cents an issue. I have been building my gardening, knitting, and crocheting libraries for years this way for next to nothing cost-wise!
- Volunteer at a library event to meet people who live in your community. Strengthening your community bonds and making new friendships is a great way to help be prepared for whatever may come in the future.
- Sign up to be notified when newly released books are available to be checked out. If you’re a preparedness-minded person like me, you can’t be spending a fortune buying every new book that comes out by your favorite author. I save the money for other gear or activities, and check the books out of the library instead.
- Check if your library offers any adult crafting events. Mine does! For a nominal amount of $5.00, I was able to attend a library event where I used their tools and my own photos and created several pages for a scrapbook of memories. Photo albums and scrapbooks to remember the past may be invaluable one day.
- Offer to teach a class at the library to share something you know well with others. This is a great way to potentially meet other preparedness-minded folks. If, for example, you offer to teach an hour long class on “how to hurricane proof your home”, you are likely to meet other people who are thinking along the same lines as you are and are interested in being ready for whatever may come.
- If your library doesn’t have a book, magazine, or other periodical you wish you did have access to, ask at the front desk if there’s any way they can order it for you from another library. Many libraries participate in exchanges of material with other libraries.
- Learn how to use your library’s media on demand programs. I am able to download, for free, onto my Kindle and my mom’s Nook, tons of books for absolutely free. I believe you can also use the apps on your iPad if that’s your tablet of choice. Usually the book just “disappears” from your device after the “lending period” so there’s nothing for you to remember to return (score!). Sometimes, the book is yours to keep forever. Bonus!
- Check out if your library offers any free legal resources. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new home or piece of land, if you can get some of your legal questions answered for free, you have that much more money to put toward the purchase price.
- Check if your library has any type of music program. I can download a free song weekly at no charge from the library to my cell phone or iPod. It’s awesome! I love to listen to music while gardening or building things or exercising. The music soothes me and helps keep me focused on the task at hand for much longer periods of time.
- See if your library has a nice quiet corner armchair or cubby where you can hide yourself away for just a few minutes once or twice a week. This is where I practice my “mindful breathing” and meditation. I combine this with my exercise and take a brisk walk up to the library, meditate, check out some books, and take a brisk walk home. When I arrive home, I feel productive and proud of myself for accomplishing all of the above!
What other ideas can you think of to use the resources at your library to help in your preparedness efforts? Please post below – I’d love to hear what you come up with!
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