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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Overlooked ways the library can save you money



librarybooks.jpgThe library isn't just for lending books anymore. As our colleague Katherine Snow Smith details here, libraries today offer so much more — including many ways for you to cut your spending.  And we just discovered the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System's  Facebook page just went live this week, so you can keep up with their news.  If you're looking to save money,  consider using free library services and ditching entertainment and educational costs that are swelling your budget.

Among the freebies she snapped up were:

Music Many libraries have been offering CDs for years. But in the past year, several area libraries have jumped into the digital game and are offering downloadable content. Library patrons in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties can skip paying 99 cents for an iTunes track and instead download an MP3 for free.

Movies Most libraries offer patrons a large selection of DVDs. You can reserve them online in some counties — almost like Netflix but about $100 a year cheaper. Yes, you might have to wait a few days or weeks to get the latest new release, but in the meantime you can catch up on a great selection of classics, recent movies or TV series.

Traffic school Got a traffic ticket but don't want the points on your license? The library can help with that, too. In Pinellas, a handful of libraries offer driver safety and traffic school DVDs. This can save you the cost of a course from a private company or going to traffic school.

Car repair Many libraries carry official car manuals in their collections, in both print and electronic format. Most also allow patrons access to the Chilton's Automotive database, which can save you money if you don't want to purchase a paper version from the manufacturer.

Programming Almost all libraries offer story-time programs for young children and reading clubs and events for older ones. And for the adults, several community groups offer free programs in topics such as gardening and finding energy savings.

Job hunting It's no secret that nearly everything has moved online these days — including job hunting. Many companies accept only electronic applications. As a result, more and more people are using library computers to look for work, and library officials say they've had to adjust to meet that need.

Books in different formats Patrons can now check out e-books and audiobooks compatible with any number of devices, including the Kindle and iPad.

--Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma

[Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 2:49pm]


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