Books are expensive, especially when you consider that once you’ve read a book, you may not ever want to read it again. Although I think books are a great gift idea to give and receive, I can’t justify the expense of buying books for my own reading pleasure. (unless it’s a Harry Potter book, then anything goes) Due to the fact that I am an avid reader and can finish a book within two or three days, buying new books can become quite expensive. So where can I find free books?
Almost every town, even the small ones, have a public library. There is no fee to get your very own library card, but in Pennsylvania you do have to be a resident of the county that the library is located in. Photo identification with proof of residency must be shown and an application form must be filled out as well.
The normal sign out period for printed and audio books is two weeks and you can renew your sign outs twice, unless another patron is waiting for the book title. So altogether, you are given up to 6 weeks to read your chosen book…for free! Even if you are a slow reader, 6 weeks is plenty of time to finish a book. Sign outs can be renewed in person, over the phone and some libraries even have on-line account access capabilities available.
Every library is full of free books to satisfy any reader’s interest. If your local library does not have the book title that you are interested in, you can ask them to check with the other libraries that they share resources with. They will borrow the book on your behalf so you can pick it up and return it to the library you normally visit. You may have to wait a couple of days, but you will still get to read your book free of charge.
I visit a library at least once a week that is within 5 minutes of my workplace. Since this library and my local library are in different counties, I was asked for my “home” library card and was then issued an access card for the library near my workplace. Once again, photo identification was required as well as a completed library card application. Now all I have to do is show my access card and, walla…free books!
If you are late returning your book or if your book is damaged, lost or stolen, there are fees involved. Late fees vary from library to library but generally the late fee is usually between .10 and .25 for every day past your due date. Of course, if the book is damaged, lost or stolen, you would be expected to pay the cost for a replacement book. Most libraries also charge a fee if you lose your library card. The fee at my local library is $5 and the library near work charges $3.
One of the best benefits to reading library books is that if you chose a book that you think will be really awesome and it turns out to be a real dud (to you anyway), you can just take it back and you haven’t spent a penny on it. On the other hand, if you read something you would love to own, you can buy your own new copy after you have “previewed” the library copy.
Since the books from the library are given to you for free and in good faith, you should treat them with the respect and care they deserve. Library books should be returned in the same condition in which they were loaned to you. After all, you were able to read it for free!