Over at Yahoo! Finance, that fount of esoteric wisdom, an article shows you 7 ways to save $1000 this year. Way Number 4? Use your library! The article gives several suggestions including checking out DVDs, children’s films, and books. Wow! They even have books at a library?!?! Consider checking out 2 books a month, the article says, instead of purchasing the same books. That supposedly saves you $10 a month for a total of $240 a year in savings. Thanks for the plug, Yahoo, but the calculated savings are a little off. If you want to read a newly published novel–like Duma Key by [famously retired writer] Stephen King–it’s going to set you back at least $15, and that’s if you buy it from the big box stores. The same book will cost you $28 at full price. And these days nobody goes to the library just to get one book a month; half of our check-outs are for DVDs. So let’s say you want the movie where Adam Sandler is pretending to be gay [insert your own joke here]. That’ll cost you $4 to rent or if you for some reason want to purchase this film, you’d be forced to shell out $15.
So now you’re saving anywhere from $19-$40 a month on one movie and one book. That’s between $300 and $450 a year. And most people also get music, children’s books, computer software, and internet access from their libraries. So what does all of that add up to? Check out the library calculator developed by the Massachusetts Library Association and create your own cost/savings analysis. I’ll bet it’s more than $240.