Westerly Sun Column | Save Some Money With Your Library Card

October 30, 2023

As the holidays creep ever closer, many of us find ourselves thinking of ways to pinch pennies and save a bit of extra money for gifts. I’m right there with you! While common practices like cutting down on food and coffee purchases are great, don’t forget that there are a bunch of ways that you can cut costs simply by using your library card!

Let’s start with the obvious. Borrowing books from the library is significantly cheaper than buying. That said, it seems like people fall into one of three camps on this: 1. They already make a habit of borrowing rather than buying, 2. They prefer buying to own, and don’t mind the expense, or 3. They don’t really read print books. If you’re in that third group, and currently paying to read eBooks through Audible or another platform, download the Libby and hoopla apps immediately! Sign up for an account with your library card, and you’ll have access to hundreds of thousands of eBooks and eAudiobooks, without paying a cent.

If you’re one of the many who has cut ties with cable and switched to streaming, you may have noticed that services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and Peacock have all increased their subscription prices recently, making them far less affordable than they once were. Consider putting your subscription on hold for a couple of months, and check out Kanopy, the library’s streaming platform, which can be accessed on mobile devices, smart TV’s, or computers. Kanopy has a fantastic collection of new and older movies, as well as TV show and documentaries. If you prefer physical DVDs, you can access a huge collection of movies and TV show through our library system. Personally, I’ll be saving myself $20 by coming to the library on Nov. 6, when we’ll be showing the newly released “Barbie” movie!

Cutting costs doesn’t mean you have to stay home and stare at the wall, either! If you like to get out and about, check out our lendable museum passes, which give you discounts on admission to various local sites. We have passes that give you 50% off admission to Mystic Seaport, a 15% discount to any Mystic Aquarium membership (memberships make great gifts, too!), free admission to Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (plus 10% off at the museum shop and cafe), and free admission to the Florence Griswold Museum. Different libraries offer different passes, so check out our online catalog to see where else you can visit and save.

If you’re looking for something to do with the family, you can always spend the day at the library. This is my personal go-to for rainy Saturdays (of which we’ve had many, lately). There are programs and activities scheduled for children, tweens, teens, and adults every day of the week, and if we’re between programs you can always grab a book and a comfy chair, peruse magazines, or enjoy the many interactive toys in the Kids Room. All without a spending a dime!


by Cassie Skobrak, Adult Services Librarian

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