by Beth Cronk, County Librarian
Have you been thinking about your New Year’s resolutions? According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, about a third of Americans typically set a resolution or goal for the coming year. USA Today newspaper has shared statistics from Statista, a German data gathering company, showing that Americans’ top New Year’s resolutions for 2024 are saving money, exercising more, eating healthier, spending more time with family and friends, and losing weight.
The public library is a great resource if you want to reduce your spending, even while pursuing some of the other goals on that list.
Instead of buying all of the books you read, or having an Audible subscription, you can check out a vast range of them from the library. The same is true for movies. If we don’t have a print book or a movie on DVD in our local library, you can order those from libraries all over the state of Minnesota. Children’s books and children’s DVDs don’t have late fees anymore; as long as you return them, you won’t even have the expense of fines for those unless they’re damaged.
Want to save money by dropping your streaming service or cable TV? While many streaming TV shows aren’t available on DVD, some are. Take a look in the library catalog to find out if we have the show you want to watch.
If you need to save money on subscriptions, you can visit the library to read local and regional newspapers and check out magazines. Our library system also has a large collection of magazines available on the Libby e-book platform.
Library programs are always free to attend. You can find free entertainment and education by attending storytimes, teen programs, book clubs, LEGO programs, knitting clubs, craft programs, science programs, and author events at the library. Some library craft programs are offered through free take-home kits. Attending library programs with your loved ones can help you meet your goal of spending time with family and friends!
Our library system offers free access to Creativebug, an arts and crafts instructional website. If your resolutions include pursuing your hobbies or learning new skills, this can be a way to try something new without having to pay for a class.
Technology is expensive. If you want to save on your data usage on your cell phone or home internet, you can come to the library to use the free wi-fi. It even works from the parking lot. We also loan hotspots so that you can have free wi-fi at home for 4 weeks, although these days there is a long wait for those. The library has laptops available to check out for four weeks, plus desktop computers for use at the library – both good ways to have a computer to use without having to buy one. It’s also inexpensive to print at the Cosmos Library: just ten cents per page for black and white prints or copies and fifty cents per page for color. Compared to buying ink cartridges, it can be a good deal.
If your goals include exercise and fitness, you can find books about those topics at the library, as well as workout videos. An enormous selection of cookbooks is available to check out, including many featuring healthy recipes.
If you visit the I Love Libraries calculator website at ilovelibraries.org/what-libraries-do/calculator, you can enter the number of books and movies you have checked out this year, as well as other library services you have used, to get an estimate of how much you saved by using the public library this year. Take good care of your finances, your health, and your general wellbeing by making the library a part of your new year.