Childfreelife’s Weblog

{November 6, 2008}   Sliding Chunk: The Library and Downsizing your Collection

Some people spend more money than others on entertainment materials.  Trent at the simple dollar used to spend a ton on books and dvds.  Some folks go crazy on CDs or magazines.   I spend some money on books, not a lot, likely less than $50.00 a month, and even less on movies, magazines and CDs. But with my husband out of work, even the odd used book is more than I really should spend.  I consider this tip neither a little chunk savings nor a big chunk savings because it could be either on a sliding scale based on how much you spend in these catagories.

But I get excited, I am growing unusual plants as a hobby, (a fairly cheap hobby if you start from seed), and I saw a book I wanted.  I decided to be a good personal finance blogger and check to see if it was at my local library first, before I pushed buy.  I am glad I did!  The local downtown library has it, and I took a simple train ride down there at lunch, signed up for a library card and viola! I have my book–and a few more I spotted along the way, no guilt, they are free to read 🙂  If I had taken this many books home from the bookstore, we would be broke!

How to use the library:

Start with a book you want to read, you saw a review, your friend mentioned it, you were researching unusual plants and the book title came up.  Then check your libraries online catalog to see if they have it.  Browse the library catalog for a few more books by that author or in that subject area.  But don’t stop there.  Go to the sections of the library your favorite subjects kept turning up in.  Even if they didn’t have your book, there are so many other interesting books in that section!  I was looking at the book about the unusual plants, and on the same shelf was a book about werewolves (I was in the folklore area).  I had to grab it!  Next time I visit the library I am going to visit that area again to see what else catches my eye.

What libraries offer:

The public library carries CDs, DVDs, Books, Magazines, and Newspapers.  Take advantage of your local library to save whatever amount of money you tend to spend on these things per month. The library has internet access–great when yours goes down!  That means you can read childfreelife’s weblog at the library!  word

Libraries offer seperate sections for children.  Up on the top floor in the science and business section, there is an abundance of peace and quiet.  While libraries are not child-free areas, some areas of libraries end up being so.  If you want to find a quiet place, and don’t mind that you may not be allowed to check out the books, I can highly recommend academic libraries, the likely hood of noisy children is even lower at a higher institution.

If one of your local libaries is air conditioned, consider it a great place to spend a quiet summer afternoon, without having to run your air conditioner.  A lot of libraries have padded chairs you can curl up in, bright lighting for reading, and an endless supply of books and magazines for your reading pleasure!

But I have to have it in my collection!

Ownership is over-rated.  Unless you use the same book or dvd everyday or every week (like a bible or a school text book), you don’t have to own it.  The Frankenstein movie will be there next month when you want to watch it again, and if it is checked out you can put it on hold.   If you use books for research writing, use a cheap at home scanner to scan particular pages you will need to reference again.  I have a cheap scanner about the size of a fall vogue issue and it is great for making quick records of pages, photos, and such for reference purposes.  (you don’t need a state of the art scanner unless you are archiving photos, scanning your artwork for prints, or using scans for advertising purposes).

I do have some books I do have to own, I reference them very regularly.  But for the most part, I can borrow a book and get more value out of the library than a bookstore.


Do you have too many books, dvds and cds?  Could you downsize your library by selling what you don’t need because the local library has a copy already?  Sure you might want to watch Rambo again someday, but you can sell it with a feeling of security that should you ever wish to see it again, you can borrow it from the library.  When weeding through your home collection for books and movies to part with, have the library online catalog open on your computer.  Then you can make a pile of, “I might want it somedays” that you can cross reference to the library collection.  If your local library doesn’t have a copy, but you are unlikely to need the item again soon (and depending on how your library manages things–my library is just as likely to sell the donated items to get funds), you can donate your books and movies to the library directly, and come borrow them again when you want to.


cemetery consort says:

My husband and I (but mostly my husband) is a huge book lover and book collector. He gets it from his father and mother. His father actually broke the main beam in their old house (and by saying old, I mean this sucker had a timber for the main beam, no mamby pamby 2×8) with the weight of the books he owns. That was supposed to put an end on any new books, but after a short interlude, the aquisitions continue. It’s a sickness really.

We have tried to limit the number of books we bring into our small house if only because we just don’t have room for them, and once in the house, it’s very hard to get them out of the house. Then along came Himself, and we of course had a whole new age group to get books for.

We have a fantastic library in our town, and we would go there every week for more picture books when he was younger. But now we tend to buy more books for him. I have a cellar full of books, many that need to be gone through to donate to others. But then there are so many really wonderful children’s books that I just don’t want to part with. It’s very difficult.

I have taken to getting some absolutely stunning art books from the library, things that I just have NO ROOM for, and would rarely be looked at and too expensive, but to borrow them for 2 or even 4 weeks is so nice. And I know I can always get them again should I want them.

We also can rent DVD’s and books on tape at our library, and there is an inter library loan so that if our library doesn’t have it, it can be gotten from another library and picked up at ours.

While it is nice to have a Library of one’s own, practically it is better to support the local library. And remember to donate unwanted books to the Library too, for a tax deduction if you can. Share the wealth, if you can pry them out of your hubby’s hands. lol

Do you have any ideas about where you can sell those dvds and books to generate cash? We’re thinking about a yard sale but were looking for other ideas. Great post though. We love our local library and our local bookstores!

Good advice!

I have always relied on the library almost extensively for books. The only books I buy are ones I will use over and over again, like cookbooks. I almost never read a fictional book twice so I never buy them.

I also find that if my library doesn’t have a book I want, they can get it for me via interlibrary loan. In fact, our library has a great web site where I can put in my interlibrary loan requests right there and they call me when the book comes in.

I also like to borrow CDs from my library and if I like them, download them onto my IPod for future listening. (I hope this is legal).

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