I lived in my town for 9 years. About two years ago, I decided to finally take advantage of a free service. I am so lucky that I live in a town that has a great library and belongs to a great library network. Why?
It's is open seven days a week during the school year. That's September to June. In the summer, it's open 6 days a week.
It is open late, till 9 pm, on three of those days.
It has a good number of computer stations so you can access the internet if only for an hour. This is great for people who do not have their own computer at home. There's even a separate room with computers for kids who have to do school work. They also have a print capability but you have to pay for it.
It has wireless network access if you bring in your laptop. This was great when I needed a change of venue because I got sick of my home office and needed people around me.
It has a great selection of books. They order multiple copies of the NY Times Best Sellers books. You can be put on a waiting list if a book is out but you have to pay for that service.
It has a great audio selection of books -- CDs and cassette tapes -- and DVDs. Yes, it even has music CDs.
The library also has a small selection of books for rental. Why you may wonder? I actually took advantage of this recently. I really wanted to read J.D. Robbs' Born in Death and did not want to wait for a return because I would be at the bottom of a long list of people. I rented it for a day and it cost me only 25 cents. Yes, I finished it the same day I took it out.
My neighborhood library is part of the New Jersey Library system which has recently started to lend out electronic audio books. You are notified when your book is ready and you download it to your computer and/or MP3 player to listen to it. The NJ network also has lots for databases that I can access. I need to get familiar with it.
The library system that I really like is the New York City Library system. That's the library system I grew up with. So it kind of spoils you for others. Since I no longer live there nor work there, I don't have access anymore unless I want to pay for a library card. Gotta love your family. My siblings work in NYC and, therefore, have free access to NYC library network. I take advantage of my siblings access to borrow NYC wide selection of ebooks and audiobooks. It also gives you access to the a wide variety of databases. It saves a trip into the city to do research.
If you've haven't visited your local library recently, you might want to check it out. You never know what you may find there. See your tax dollars at work.