Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Deal of the Year for Book Lovers


I’ve got THE BEST money-saving, freebie deal to share with you today.  This is the big one friends.  A completely legit, no coupon code required, money-saving deal that will blow your mind. 

What if I told you that by using this deal, my family has saved over $4,000 dollars in the last six months alone in free books?  Free books!  We don’t get to keep them of course, this deal is more like Netflix, where you pay a monthly subscription to get access to all of these books but you do have to give them back when you are done. Except unlike Netflix, this deal is absolutely free. 

It’s called....wait for it....the public library.  
You probably have one right in your hometown.  It’s this completely magical building where anyone can just walk in off the streets, and regardless of credit history or the size of  one's bank account, can gain access to as much free reading material as he/she wants.  The library in our town is so magical that even if they don’t have the book we are looking for, they can use some kind of wizard summoning spell to make it appear in the library, sometimes as quickly as the NEXT DAY. 

Wait, there’s more.  If I can’t make it to the library, I can get on my computer and press a few buttons and then the next time I visit, all of the books I want will be waiting on a special shelf with my name on them.   For FREE! 

Did I mention how all of this is free? 

My youngest waiting for the library doors to open so he could begin his summer reading program.

Listen, in all seriousness, I can’t sing the praises of the public library loud enough.  Our local library has been a cornerstone to the experience of raising my children.  I started started bringing them to story time as babies, and by the time they were precocious preschoolers, they knew some of the librarians by name and these wonderful ladies knew them too.  They knew what books my boys would want to read, and before long, knew which children’s books I would want to read myself.  I met mamas and their kids at the library that are still friends today.  Our family has had the opportunity of meeting some of our favorite authors in this public space, and the privilege to be inspired by their stories.  These experiences are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what our local library offers.  If you want to start a business, the library offers myriad resources on how to go about doing that.  Want to know more about your family tree?  The library has people on staff that will help you sort out your genealogy (but they won’t help you sort out your family ... there has to be a limit to what these wizards can accomplish).  Need to use a computer?  They have one for you, for free!  Test coming up?  The library offers practice exams for academic, civil service, military and many professional industries.  Need help with your taxes?  The library has accountants on hand during tax season to answer your questions.  Our local library even brings in adorable, furry dogs to snuggle up and read to if you just really love dogs.   

I feel like I forgot to mention that all of this is free.

In the last six months alone, our family has checked out over 300 books from our local library system.  I found this handy calculator on my library’s website, which is how I found out that we had, in fact, saved over $4,000 in materials and resources.  In six months.  While there are books I am so thrilled to own, and bookstores I love to support, our budget simply cannot keep up with our reading habit without our library.


 Our library habit is so intense it requires one of these really large rolling carts.  And that's just the books for the kids.

There is substantial research illustrating the direct correlation between reading aloud to our babies and children and their academic success down the road.  If you are research-minded, I’d highly encourage you to check out this article or this one.

If you’ve already had the experience of raising a reader, you may already know this intrinsically.  You’ve felt the weight of your baby's warm body snuggled into you while you read Goodnight Moon, or the wiggling, giggling toddler squirming on your lap while saying "No!" to the pigeon in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for the one hundredth time, or the wide-eyed, breathless anticipation of your young child desperate to know what happens to Harry Potter in the next chapter.  You’ve watched your child grow into a reader, and watched him disappear behind a book and discover the possibility of living so many kinds of lives.  You’ve seen your child reenact her favorite scenes with her dolls.  You’ve seen your teenager find empathy for someone whose experiences he can only imagine because of a book, and you yourself have left behind a busy day of work and diapers and bills and difficult relationships to sink beneath the sheets with a copy of your favorite author’s latest novel.  You don’t need to read the research to know the magic of books. 

So, today, if you are already a regular at your local library, take a minute to thank the men and women who make the magic happen.  Take a friend while you are at it.  And if you aren’t a library regular, get in your car and go now.  Sign up for a library card, ask for a book recommendation and see for yourself.  This really is the deal of a lifetime.  

***UPDATE - Giveaway has ended and the winner, Susan Harris, is in possession of her sweet tote.  Thanks for all of the entries!

Wait...if you've stuck with me this far, don't leave yet!  I've got one more deal to offer you today.  I'd like to introduce you to Tammi Salas, writer, artist and fellow library enthusiast.  I first discovered Tammi last November when she took part in a "Rainbow Friday" event with other bloggers.   Rainbow Friday was offered as a kind of antidote to Black Friday, an opportunity to shop for handmade, meaningful gifts that also give back.  Tammi was selling her "Library Junkie" totes and donating 20% of her sales to fund a library in Pastures Preschool, a one-room schoolhouse in Bodega, California.  I did what anyone would do and immediately bought one as a gift and then kept it for myself.  Thankfully, there is still a chance for one of you to own this bag, as Tammi is graciously donating a bag to one lucky reader! 


 Here's what you can do to increase your chances of getting your hands on this bag:

1.  Comment on this post below and tell me your favorite thing about the public library.

2.  Share this post and tag me (so I see it).
3.  Visit your library and share a picture (and let me know if I can share it too!)

I'll enter your name into a drawing once for each of the above actions and choose one name at random on January 31st to receive this cute and handy tote.  In the meantime, please take a moment to visit Tammi on her blog where she shares beautiful stories on motherhood, community, art and more.  You can also visit her Etsy shop (which she'll be re-stocking in the coming months with additional items) or follow her on Instagram (@tammisalas) for artistic inspiration.  Thank you so much Tammi for sharing your many gifts and sweet tote with us, and for your generous spirit.

13 comments:

  1. What a lovely post about libraries! Yes, they are my favorite too and I'm a total junkie. We have three library cards for Sonoma County, Marin County and San Francisco. My son also obtained a public library card while we were on a week-long vacation in Portland, Oregon.

    Keep sharing your love of books, libraries and librarians with your readers and thank you for including me in your giveaway!

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    1. I absolutely love that your son picked up a library card on vacation. That's dedication. Thanks again Tammi for your support!

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  2. I LOVE books period. I love that the library provides no excuses in getting books in the hands of kids. If they don't have a book, you can even request they get one. You can lose yourself at the library in a good story. My own kids can learn the joy of reading.

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    1. Absolutely. I could spend hours there.

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  3. This post is so close to my heart. I am a huge fan of the library and love sharing it with my family. It is the one place I can get ALL of my kids to go to without bribing/pleading with them. No small feat for 6 kids ranging from 23-8. Now I'm wishing I had at least one picture of them all together there.

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    1. Finding one activity that all six of your kids enjoy is a feat! There are days my two children can't even agree on one, but you are spot on, they've never said no to the library.

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  4. I love that all three of my kids (8, 6, 3) find something to do at the library. And it's one tiny way that my tax dollars actually support my homeschooling endeavors! All of our literature and some science/history supplementals come from the library.

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    1. Ours too! And sometimes I can tell when we are right on track with other families using Story of the World in our area because all the books will be checked out!

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  5. Hands down, the library has been one if my favorite places to be since I was a kid. Even this past December I had to visit the Brentwood, TN children's library while we were there because I had seen it on Pinterest! Who would have thought it would be a tourist attraction!
    The pic of your son with his nose pressed to the glass warms my little librarian heart!!
    Mernie

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    1. And look where you are now! Spending lots of time at the library can only lead to good things. I'm going to look up that library on Pinterest now. I've been wanting to visit the one in Kansas City that looks like a row of books on the outside. Library tourism. It's all the rage. 😉

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  6. The library was access to knowledge we did not have the means to otherwise have access to. My dad used books to arm himself with information and lift himself from poverty. He instilled his love of books in me by introducing me to the library, giving me access to a great, new world of literature, history, and other resources I could never have afforded on my own. Now it's a place my boys love to go and choose their own stories and areas to explore.

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  7. I also got engaged at the library. ;)

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    1. I cannot believe I didn't know this! And your dad's story is really incredible, just across the board. I love hearing about how the library played a part.

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