1) I love reading books
2) I'm obsessed with my Kindle
3) I love a good bargain
4) I HATE clutter
5) I'm (desperately) trying to live a little more "green."
So this love-affair-with-library post is long overdue, really. It's just that I've been so busy reading (for free!) that I forgot how many people don't know about this yet.
Kindle + Library + Amazon = The Greatest Thing for Book Addicts, Ever.
I'm a huge fan of libraries in general. Getting my kids their own library cards is still on my bucket list for summer (good thing we still have a month left!) and I love visiting my local branch for story time or a stolen solo hour getting lost in the stacks. But it's true that in the digital age, libraries have lost some of their luster. It's hard to compete with the instant gratification of a Buy-It-Now download that appears instantly on your e-reader or smartphone.
Enter my book lover's love triangle. I simply pull up my To-Read list on Goodreads.com (another current obsession that if you love books like I do, you need to check out IMMEDIATELY) and enter the titles into the e-media search engine on the library's website. Depending on availability, I either add books to my cart (I can check out ten at a time, way more than humanly possible in a three-week time frame) or add myself to the wait list (you can be on the wait list for up to ten at a time, too). When I click on my cart, it automatically redirects to my Amazon account, where I download the books.
When I'm finished, I log in to Amazon to return them, or simply let them expire, which they do automatically after the three week lending period,. As a good library citizen, I try to return anything I'm done with or not reading as soon as possible so other people on the wait list can get their turn.
If you want to see if your public library offers an e-media lending service, check out their website. You'll need a valid library card...and if you don't have one, what a perfect excuse to make a trip to the brick-and-mortar institution that's been serving your community for decades... ;)
Since January, I've downloaded and read 21 books from the Los Angeles Public Library. That translates to a total savings of over $300 and about 20 pounds less clutter in my home. And no wasted paper.
Does it pain me to call my beloved books "clutter?" Absolutely. But the fact remains that we're trying to downsize our number of possessions, stay within a reasonable spending budget, and live an overall green-er lifestyle. Borrowing books for my Kindle lets me support my local library, read the hottest bestsellers for free, and cut down on my carbon imprint without leaving the house. Or the couch, even.
Trying to turn my kids into lifelong readers is one of my most important parenting goals. One of the ways I try to achieve that goal is to model the behavior myself. With my Kindle in hand (disguised as a regular book in the best.case.ever., of course) and a whole library of books to choose from, showing my kids how much reading has changed my life is easier than ever.
Don't believe me? Try it and see. I promise it will change your life, too.
*End of public service announcement. I'm receiving no compensation from Amazon or the Los Angeles Public Library to write this post. But if they see this post and want to name me E-Media Ambassador, or something, I'd be honored to accept :)
**Special thanks to Aunt Diane (who didn't know about this amazing situation) and Sara (ever my friendship soul mate, who did) for inspiring this post.