Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Reading on a Budget

I recently used a Christmas gift card I received for a chain bookstore. I love to read, but I don’t buy a lot of books. They’re expensive, and there aren’t many that I want to keep. I try to reserve my buying for books that have a special meaning for me, such as this one that my friend Karen wrote.

The library is my main source of reading material. I’m lucky to have several libraries close to home, and I use them all. I like going to libraries; they’re among my happy places. But I also like the convenience of visiting them online.

You already know you can go to the library and check out books, magazines, music and DVDs. You can read new issues of newspapers and magazines on site, but you can’t take them with you.

But do you know how many library resources you can access remotely? You can check out e-books, audiobooks and magazines. You also can access current issues of local and national newspapers. I subscribe to two local papers – The Plain Dealer and West Life – and I think it’s important to support local journalism. However, I can’t afford to subscribe to every newspaper I want to read.

My library cards allow me to read some of those papers through the libraries’ websites for free. Cuyahoga County branch libraries, among others, also have a database of newspapers going back more than a hundred years.

You also can access Hoopla and Overdrive with your library card to read e-books, audiobooks and magazines. Overdrive has the Libby app, which lets you borrow e-books and audiobooks and read them instantly on your mobile device.

You can get a free library card outside of the community where you live or work. I have cards from Rocky River, Westlake, Lakewood, the Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Public Library systems and Avon Lake.

I prefer to read print versions of books and newspapers, but I appreciate having access to electronic materials. When a new book has a long wait list at the library, the e-book or audio version sometimes becomes available before the hardback.

Friday I’ll tell you about using your library card to get free movies, TV shows and music online.

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