Friday, July 20, 2012

Take Advantage of Your Library

Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library
I'm often amazed at the American institution known as the public library.  Think about it from a business perspective.  "Guys, I've got a great idea!  Let's set up a building where we house thousands of books containing information gathered from all the reaches of the world.  Let's also set up some computers, buy a bunch of DVD's and CD's and make this resource available to the public.  On top of that, let's allow people to borrow this information for the price of .... FREE!" Sounds kind of crazy doesn't it?

The amount of trust provided by a city's library is nothing short of amazing.  A couple weeks past, my nieces and nephew were visiting and since they are <8 years old, I knew that I needed something to entertain them in their down time.  Being the ever frugal person, I decided to hike on over to my public library and check out some kids movies.  I walk in and am amazed that they have thousands of kids DVD's free for rental.  You can even hold on to them for 10 days.  I grabbed 4 cases (Wallace and Grommit, Carmen Sandiego, The Muppets Show, and Fraggle Rock), check out at one of their self-check out kiosks, and am out the door in less then 10 minutes (9 of those minutes were actually spent looking for the right movies).  If you stop to think about, this is an amazing service provided to all of us for free.

Unless you live in some remote part of the US (sorry all you international readers, but I'm certain you have something similar) chances are you have a public library somewhere pretty close to where you live.  The modern library system as we know it today has its roots in the invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg.  Since printed material become exponentially cheaper and faster to produce, we could now start storing the information in public buildings so the general public could become more educated.  In the U.S., libraries started to gain track in the mid 18th Century.  One of the biggest advocates of the library system was Benjamin Franklin.  Benjamin's library operated by people paying for a subscription so that the library could buy more books.  People who had this subscription could then borrow any of the books belonging to the library.  Lets also keep in mind that this was a time in which income tax was non-existent, so there was little other choice to fund this endeavor.  Today, libraries are mostly funded through our income and property taxes.

So, how can I maximize myself and my life through the use of my public library?  I think the answer is obvious here in that you should start your own reading lessons.  Anything you could ever want to learn is located in your library and it also includes a bunch of extremely cheap (free) entertainment.  There is literally nothing cheaper to both enrich and occupy your life.  You can even request a book to be ordered by the library so that you can get some additional resources.  With all these benefits, it is almost stupid to never stop bye.  Take the time, and visit your local library soon!

Wonderful Moment of the Day: Picking up a free financial book to read at my local library.

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