Five Ways to Use Your Free Ticket to the Universe

It really exists. There are multiple locations. It can save you thousands of dollars. And it really is free.

I’m talking about your local library and the amazing thing that is the library card.

If you don’t have a library card, you need to get one, and you need to use it.

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Language Learning

Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? The library here in Austin uses Mango languages, and so far I love it. Your library may have something different, but most libraries I’ve found use one of the myriad of expensive programs, and nearly all of them offer apps. Free.

The Virtual Library

This is perhaps my favorite perk of all. You can get access to thousands of ebooks and audiobooks that can be read using your Kindle, the Kindle app or an app called Overdrive. Gone are the days of late fees and running back and forth to the library to return books and pick up holds.

An extension of the virtual library in Austin are emagazines using an app called Zinio. I get Mental Floss, Astronomy Magazine, The Writer and several of others sent straight to my iPad. I absolutely love niche publications because they usually cover really interesting things you don’t usually see scrolling through other media.

Movies

The Austin Library provides access to indieflix.com, which is a huge database of independent films.

Workshops

Libraries are always hosting workshops for on so many different topics. I’ve seen them for coding, resumes building, graphic design, writing and so many more.

Endless Resources

There are also many resources to help you do research and find answers to just about anything. Academic databases, archived newspapers and other publications, genealogy resources and public records, and live humans, also known as librarians, to help you find what you need.

All of these things seem so underutilized, especially by my generation. But these are services and tools that people pay a lot of money for when it’s all right there, free of charge (or for the low, low cost of a few tax dollars, if you’re looking at it that way).

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