I have always been an avid reader and have tried throughout the years to pass on the love of books and reading to our children. But can we just keep it real for a second, the cost of books can add up real quick! Sure I have found some tricks and go to ways to get good deals on books but if I were to purchase all the books that are consumed around here we'd probably be choosing between dinner or books. If you’re anything like us and can’t just skip a few Starbucks drinks to buy some books you learn to rely heavily on the public library.
The public library’s digital lending program is our number one favorite FreeSchooling resource! Not only can we borrow e-books, we can also borrow audiobooks and magazines! In my experience even if you don’t have a library card you can sign up for most public libraries’ digital lending programs online with just a phone number. This allows you to borrow books using a computer, phone, or tablet with a variety of free apps to get the books or you can read and listen right in your internet browser. Which makes utilizing this free community resource an absolute game changer.
I think it's safe to say that 99% of the books we consume in this house come from the library and more often than not the digital lending library. Yes, this means that sometimes we have to wait for books we want to read to become available (hello delayed gratification)!
Here are 5 tricks that I’ve learned over the years that help make the most out of our favorite FreeSchooling resource:
1) get as many library cards as you can!
Don't just rely on one local library. We have library cards from several counties which opens up more availability for books we want to read. As I mentioned at least here in California most libraries allow you to obtain a digital library card with just a phone number.
2) make a wishlist!
On most of the digital library systems you can create a list of books you want to read. We have long lists of books we want to read so that when we're done with a book we can look at our list and see which books are available. Not only does this save us time it also helps to keep up the reading momentum. We all know how it can be when you’ve just finished a great book and you don’t know what to read next.
3) keep adding to your wishlist!
We take trips to the library and local bookstores and take photos of the books we want to read. We then add them to our Goodreads and library wish list so that we can get online and search the libraries and add more books to our list so that when it's time for a new book we're bound to find one that's available.
4) embrace the idea of delayed gratification.
The books that you really want to read are not always going to be available and you will have to get on the waitlist. There have been times that we’ve had to wait months to read a popular book or some new release. not only is this a lesson in patience but it has given us the opportunity to try out books we maybe wouldn't have otherwise read because we choose to read what's available. And then when that book we've been wanting comes available we appreciate and enjoy it even more!
5) request titles that are not yet available.
If you’ve checked multiple libraries and none of the libraries have the book you’re looking for in my experience most libraries give you the option to request or suggest a book for purchase. Sometimes it takes a while for the library to get the book in their catalog but there’s no better way to help our libraries continue to add diverse titles to their lists than by asking for what we want.
The public library is not only our favorite community resource it has also continues to keep homeschooling accessible for us. If you have access to a mobile device or a computer then you have access to a world of free resources thanks to the public libraries.