The library is amazing and like Netflix for books. If you like to pay for books, then cool, but if you like free stuff and you aren't actively using the library, then you're crazy. I use the library nearly every day and I rarely step foot through its doors. Let me tell you what you could be missing...
Photo by my friend Bre
Free (new) music: I'm cheap. I love Pandora and Spotify and free music because the radio is mostly awful these days. My library offers the Hoopla app which offers tons of music, often on the day it's released, free for a week. Try before you buy, or if you're me and the sudden resurgence of Fall Out Boy makes you want to relive 2006 and relisten to Under the Cork Tree without digging in boxes for a CD, there you go. I also love listening to comedy CDs through the app because they're something I enjoy but would never buy since I wouldn't relisten to them often.
Goodreads Laziness: I love Steph and Jana's monthly book link-up and I often add books to my Goodreads account based on other people's recommendations. Then, I have to go to my library's Overdrive app (which is where I get 90% of my books, with the other 10% being Hoopla audiobooks) and check for each book, one by one. It isn't hard but it's tedious, especially as my to-read list grows. You never know when a book is added to the Overdrive collection or if you've already looked for something. After some googling, I found a Chrome plug-in that you can install on your browser that adds a column to your Goodreads shelves or a line on each book you click on telling you right away if the book is available in the app. It is magic. Now, I can look at my shelves, right-click on what's available, and then it opens in Overdrive so I can borrow, request, or save each selection. It also tells you if there's a hold on the book and how long it is and if it's an ebook or audiobook.
With the plugin, there's a new column on my shelf view page | If you click to view a book's page, you can also see the Overdrive availability. The first number is the number of requests and the second is the number of copies available.
Flipster: This is my new favorite thing as my library just added it last month. It's basically magazines, loaded onto my iPad, for free. I love People magazine and Entertainment Weekly and I occasionally want to flip through a Better Homes and Gardens, but again, I'm cheap, and I know they'll end up in the recycle bin pretty quickly. With Flipster, you can add a magazine to your account, load it onto your device, and then you have two days to read it. I don't load one until I know I have some time to focus, so it's perfect to just check out the things you really want to read.
Personalized Recs: This is where my library is amazing (Harris County!). I read that they offer a Book Hunters program where you fill out a short survey about books you like to read, which platform you prefer, what you're looking for, etc. and then a librarian looks at your list and makes personalized recommendations. I filled out the survey and also sent a link to my Goodreads account in case it was helpful. I got a list of 14 books back, all available electronically, and I'm excited to get started on the recommendations - I added at least nine to my to read shelf.
Audiobooks: I know, audiobooks are like the coolest thing to hit blogging since the blanket scarf, but unlike wearing too much material around my neck, they are actually something I bought into and love. I always have an audiobook going for in the car (I drive at least an hour and a half a day), while walking the dog, and often when I clean. It takes just the right amount of attention for me to be able to multitask. Some narrators are amazing and really bring you into the story. You get each book for two weeks and they are 100% free through the library so why haven't you given them a try yet?
Comic Books and Movies: You can get comics through Hoopla and graphic novels (like The Walking Dead!) though Overdrive. Comics are expensive and sometimes I want to see where TWD book went so I can try to figure out the show. There are also movies (and kids' shows!) on Hoopla. This isn't something I've used yet, but I love just knowing it's there.
No one asked me or paid me to write this post. I just wish I had known all the great stuff available to me for free long ago. I feel like I wasted a lot of time not reading or using my commute time in the middle of a great story. I think I annoy my coworkers by constantly telling them what I've been reading but I always have new options easily accessible and I'm excited to share. Who knows, maybe one day I will actually get to the library during its working hours and take advantage of the other things it offers. There's actually a craft class that sounds kind of fun...
Linking up with Joey and Kristin...