In our household, we have an expression, “There”s always room for One More Book!” Back when we were DINKs (Double Income, No Kids), we would often find ourselves browsing the bookstores on the weekends and bringing home a new book or two. When we began to embark down the road of Single Income Parenting, we realized this was an area of spending that needed to be curbed. Consequently, we have become quite well acquainted with our local library (the librarian and most of the assistants there know me by name). Our local library has a great online reservation system. We can request a book online and, even if it is located at another branch, it will be delivered to our own branch for pick up. We get a handy little email reminder when our books are ready for pick up and due to be returned. I still like to browse the bookstores, but now I write down the titles that appeal to me and request them from the library.
Do we still buy books? Yes, but usually for kids” birthday and holiday gifts. We want to foster in them the same love for reading that we have. As an aside, the best way to get your kids to read and love it is to model your own love of reading! Let them see you reading your books and magazines. And of course, read to your children daily! Ok, I”m off my soapbox for now.
Not only does the public library have books to check out, but they also have movies, magazines and newspapers. Do you subscribe to several magazines? Stop paying for them and hit up the library once a week or so to read them. Of course, this is assuming that you don”t like tearing out all the pages of cool ideas like I do.
If you truly think you need to own certain books, check out your Friends of the Library annual book sale (if they have one) or yard sales in your community. These are great places to find kids” books especially. There are also some book trading websites out there: titletrader.com, paperbackswap.com and abebooks.com to name a few.
Ok, but what about these free activities that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Our local library offers some pretty cool activities for kids. There is a weekly Storytime for preschool kids and younger that we often try to hit up. We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of our local branch, so Storytime is a good excuse/reason to pop the kids in the stroller and get out of the house. There are also seasonal activities, such as a Winter Festival (meet Santa and do some arts and crafts) and Family Reading Festival during the spring. There are activities for adults too! Local and not-so-local authors have come to speak at our library. So get out there and find out what sort of fun activities your local library offers! Start in on that long list of books you”ve always wanted to read. Join your local Friends of the Library group and have some say in what kinds of offerings are made to the general public. Read!