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How to Spend 30 Minutes (and More) … at the Public Library

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Imagine a place where you can pick up a copy of the latest release by your favorite sci-fi author and two travel guides for your friend’s trip to Greece, read a year’s worth of Vogue in one sitting, attend a résumé workshop and update your brother’s résumé on the spot, check your e-mail, watch an action flick and two documentaries, and sign up for a speed-dating event … all for free!

OK – technically it’s not totally free — some of your taxes go to support your local library, but if you tried to do all of that in one day elsewhere, here’s what you might have spent by the end of the day:

  • Sci-fi book: List price for a hardbound copy of “A Discovery of Witches” = $28.95
  • Travel guides: List price for Frommer’s “Frommer’s Complete Greece” = $21.99 and DK Eyewitness Travel guide “The Greek Islands” = $28.00
  • Magazine subscription: Cover price for one year of Vogue = $47.88
  • Resume services: Prices range from $100 to $1,000
  • Movie ticket: $9.50
  • Speed dating service: Prices range, on average, from $35 to $45 per event

So all told, you would have spent, approximately, somewhere between $275 and $1,175. Now imagine doing that a few times a week. So you can see why I almost titled this post, “How to Save Money — Use the Library.”

And if you didn’t already know you can do all this stuff and more at your local public library, well — you can. Today’s libraries are information hubs, learning centers, digital hotspots, media lounges, social gathering places and even a place to grab a coffee or lunch. Yes, that’s right — lunch. Patrons of the Pittsford Community Library can grab a bagel and smoothie at the attached Bruegger’s and Hall County residents visiting the Spout Springs Branch can go for a grilled Panini or a savory crepe among other tasty-sounding items at the Friends Café.

So if you haven’t been in a while, find your library card, dust it off and head to your local branch to check things out. And if you don’t have a card, it’s high time you got one.

What are your favorite things about your local public library? Leave a comment and share some library love. Oh, and don’t forget to follow How-to Stuff on Facebook and Twitter, and, if you haven’t already, download the HowStuffWorks iPhone app from iTunes!

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