Saturday, January 4, 2014

Do You Remember The Library?

I have been devouring books on all aspects of building. Plumbing, electric, and greywater are my current passions, however the holiday season just passed and I don't have a ton of money to spend on books. I did the next best thing: I checked out books from my local library instead of buying them!

Since it appears as though i am going to be doing my own electric and plumbing, I have shopped books that I think would be important to own in my personal library. Many of the books I have researched are $30 or more. Since I have six as of right now that I would personally like to own, checking out a book I am interested in before laying out the cash is a great way to dip your foot my foot in the pool. I have to say that I am impressed by all three titles I check out and am going to share book reviews on both this blog and on my podcast.

In Arizona we have several levels of libraries run by the county, state, city, and university/college levels, but they all share their collections through a fabulous phenomena known as inter-library loan. If you need a book that your library doesn't not own, you can request the librarian to locate a copy at another library(doesn't have to be in the same system) and "borrow" it for you. This works for other items as well such as sheet and recorded music, audio recordings, books on tape, video recordings, maps, and microfiche. Sometimes there is small charge, but I have yet to encounter that (just late fines when I turn stuff back in past the due date.)  If something is rare, one-of-a-kind, or fragile, the owning library can refuse. Sometimes they will just email scans of manuscripts and books. Refusal to loan an item that is considered non-circulation (meaning you may not check it out, but just view it at the library) is not uncommon.

The best parts of the library today is that many of them loan e-books. That means you could check out a book without ever actually stepping foot in the library! Nook, Kindle, Ipad, Android, etc. all are compatible. Isn't that great?  However, the best part of the e-book library book is by far no late fees. When the day it is due rolls around, it is automatically removed from your device. It couldn't be any easier or cost less! If you live far from the city, as I plan, checking books out via the library is a great way to get a continuous flow of interesting reading material.

Many libraries also offer free classes, have computers with internet access available to use for free, and quiet study rooms for a place to spread out when you are working and need a quiet environment. Don't forget to say, "thank you for all you do," to your local librarian on National Library Worker Day (April 15) and read a book or two someone else told you not to during Banned Book Week (date to be determined.) You can check out other information (get it? Check out? Ok, ok, sorry, bad joke) on the National Library Association website.  There is so much to do at your local library and it is mostly FREE or has a nominal fee tied to it. Checking out books instead of buying them is a win-win!

When is the last time you checked out what your local library system had to offer?