The headline read: “Price increases are rampant at retailers.” The thing is, everything costs more these days. From getting ripped off at the gas pump to spending more for less at the grocery store, the news is about where we can expect to pay more. It reminds me too uncomfortably of my childhood, when the term “stagflation” was coined. Money was tight, but there was a place we could go where my mom said those never-heard-of words, “Get what you want!” It was the library. The other day, while chatting with a colleague, I had one of those epiphany moments, which prompted me to take a closer look at all the ways the library is helping members of our community save money. the money.
Of course, there are books. There was a time when books were very expensive, and if a family could afford to buy one book, it was the Bible, they only had one, and it was also a place to save their tree genealogy. Although books aren’t as expensive as they once were, a new paperback by our favorite author is three times the price of a latte from Starbucks. Borrowing books from the library is free, which leaves us more money for coffee.
It’s not just the books, though. With subscriptions to over 50 magazines and the local newspaper, keeping up with the news or just flipping through Mother Earth News magazine (for money-saving ideas on self-sufficiency) is as easy as walking. stop and sit for a while in the adult reading area. Coffee is optional, but with a saving of $5.99 per issue for Mother Earth News magazine, you can afford two cups of joe.
There’s not much that goes better with a good book than a cup of tea and some soothing music. The library can also help you. We have an extensive collection of music CDs, and if you prefer to listen to your books, we also have hundreds of audio books. What you can’t find in our collection is available through our Cloud Library, where you can download audiobooks and eBooks (to your computer or eReader). We are heading into the summer travel season. Grab an audiobook or a few CDs to keep you (and the kids in the back) entertained on that long drive!
Speaking of travel. How about a field trip? Your library card allows you to borrow a pass for free admission to the Portland Museum of Art, Southworth Planetarium and (soon!) Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. A pass is also available for half the price of admission to the Children’s Museum of Portland. Looks like a day trip is on the list!
Of course, sometimes what we need is for the story to be told in color on a screen. With a collection of over 6,000 DVDs in every genre, including foreign movies, Disney delights and everything in between, we truly have something for everyone. What about those of us who don’t have a DVD player, you ask? Well, we’ve got you covered too. Did you know that your library card entitles you to 15 FREE downloads per month on Kanopy, the library’s streaming service? Once a better deal than cable (and ad-free!), streaming services are getting ridiculously expensive (and now have ads too). From 2020 to 2021, the price of home streaming has increased by 44.7%. With Kanopy or the borrowed DVDs, there are no ads, they are free, and the savings each week can pay for another latte with flavor, if desired.
The thing is, we’re an IT-centric world, and for that, your library can also save you money. We have computers available to the public, and if you have your own laptop or smartphone, we have free Wi-Fi.
Here at the library, we want to be frugal and smart with our money. To that end, we invited Megan Letendre from UNE’s SNAP-Ed program to create a virtual pop-up grocery store. Megan walked us through simple ways to make food dollars more elastic at the grocery store. His video will be published in early May on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel and will be available until the end of September. Check it out!
As the economy tries to pull the proverbial financial rug out of us, your library is here to help you find resources and materials to inform and entertain you. As our favorite Aardvark, Arthur Read, always says, “Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card.”
Wendy Brown is a proud frugalist, who learned dozens of money-saving tips as a stay-at-home mom for two decades. When she’s not shopping for new clothes or cooking inexpensive gourmet meals for her family, she enjoys browsing the 600 section of non-fiction for books on thrifty living.
Opening of Palace Playland for the 120th season