Most people know library cards are free, but you may not realize just how valuable your card actually is. In fact, if you haven’t used it since middle school, you may be overlooking a surprising return on investment. When we hear “library,” we think “books,” but it’s time to reimagine your library as a money-saving powerhouse. The average library user in Anne Arundel County saves $1,750 annually — money happily available for vacations, college and more. A card’s value grows tremendously for customers taking full advantage of other library offerings including an expansive catalog of early literacy classes, K–12 tutoring, career assistance, digital education and thousands of events.
What if I love books, but I like to have my own?
Perhaps you’ve purchased more books than you’ve ended up reading. Why not try before you buy? Last year alone, the library purchased 220,000 books, movies and more, including 70,000 items for the new Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library. Maybe you’ve also bought plenty of children’s books, only to find your children had outgrown them quicker than their clothes. Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) has over 53,000 children’s books; at $8-$16 each, that can really add up!
I’m unable to visit the library. Is there an easier way?
When you don’t have time to stop by a branch, accessing digital content is easy with Overdrive and Kanopy. Overdrive has more ebooks, audiobooks and magazines than you can read, even in a pandemic. This service is easily used with Libby, an app that works on your phone or tablet much the same as Audible, which runs $14.95 per month. The library’s digital catalog includes New York Times bestsellers, classic fiction, self-help titles and more. Kanopy is a streaming movie service with over 30,000 modern movies, documentaries, educational content from The Great Courses and PBS, plus must-see classics from The Criterion Collection. Why not save $8.99 on Netflix by using this service instead?
What about my personal goals?
Check items off your bucket list with the library for more savings. Want to learn a new language? Rosetta Stone and Mango Language Learning each cost around $200 a year, but a library card gets you both for free. Wish you knew more about your family history only to discover Ancestry.com costs a whopping $400? Your library offers it for free along with numerous other genealogical databases.
What about just improving yourself? Amplify your business and tech skills or even boost your creativity with LinkedIn Learning and Udemy. Buying these expert tutorials outright costs $239 per year.
What if I don’t have reliable access to technology?
Thanks to funding from the Library Foundation, Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots are available for checkout Save your data and borrow a hotspot for vacation! Maybe you have a child begging for your phone. The library has hundreds of Playaway learning tablets pre-loaded with educational content for children ages 3-7. These will buy you time before dropping your own cash. The extras mean extra savings. With your library card, you can find financial investing databases, take cooking classes or even check out a fishing pole. The possibilities are endless. The more you use the library, the more savings you find.