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Local libraries have faded in prominence over the past few decades due to the rise of the digital age, but they aren’t done yet. While you can still check out physical books from libraries, there are lots of other perks you might not even know about (much like Amazon Prime has a few lesser-known benefits 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now Scratch the surface. Amazon Prime has so many more benefits that people have forgotten about or simply don't realize exist. Read More ). Of course, among them are technology-related benefits.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can hit up a library to save money on tech. Note that your local library may not provide all these features, so results may vary depending on area, but most libraries are sure to have some of these great options just waiting for you to check out.

Use Library Computers

It’s easy to forget, but pretty much every library has a stock of computers that anyone can use to browse the web, check email, or perform other light tasks. Of course, these computers are going to be pretty locked down 7 Ways to Ensure Your Loved Ones' PC Will Never Need Fixing 7 Ways to Ensure Your Loved Ones' PC Will Never Need Fixing Are you tech support for your family or friends? Do you receive frantic calls because they've installed malware or somehow managed to break their computer and they need you to fix it? This can be... Read More , so you won’t be able to run any custom software or get around restrictions (if the library staff is knowledgeable enough to place restrictions in the first place).

Some people might scoff at these, but if your computer recently died and you don’t have the money for a new computer (even a cheap Linux desktop 5 Cheap Linux Computers You Can Buy Today 5 Cheap Linux Computers You Can Buy Today Let's take a look at five computers that you can order today for under $500 that come preinstalled with a popular, well-supported Linux distro. Read More ) right away, you can still get by on the library’s machines for a while. If they keep you caught up on email while you save up for a new PC 3 Simple Ways to Save Money When Building a New Computer 3 Simple Ways to Save Money When Building a New Computer There are a few tips and tricks you should know to save even more money when building a PC. Read More , they’ve saved you some money in the long run!

These machines could also come in handy if you’re on a limited internet connection Saving Mobile Data: 5 Clever Ways To Reduce Data Usage Saving Mobile Data: 5 Clever Ways To Reduce Data Usage If you’re on a limited mobile data plan, you may find opening your bill to be harrowing experience. Is there an overage charge? How much? And why was there so much data used? While the... Read More and can only use so much bandwidth every month. Have a few days at the end of the month where using your computer or phone online would result in extra charges? Hop on over to the library and avoid those fees.

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Print Without Hassle

Similar to using the computers, lots of libraries have printers that charge only a quarter or two per page to print. While you might dream of going paperless The Future Is Here - Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today The Future Is Here - Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today Paperless – a term that is used quite often now days. But what does it mean? And to what extent does it apply? Certainly we all still use paper to some degree despite the advancements... Read More , from time to time you’ll probably need to print for some reason. Rather than buying a printer and paying for ink constantly It's More Expensive Than Blood: How To Squeeze More Ink Out Of Your Printer It's More Expensive Than Blood: How To Squeeze More Ink Out Of Your Printer Although things are getting better (some printer manufacturers have radically reduced the cost of ink) as far as the owners of many sub-$100 printers are concerned, the price of ink is staggeringly close to the... Read More , head over to the library and print out whatever you need.

Some libraries also offer scanning or faxing capabilities, so you could completely avoid buying a scanner and save money that way, too. Also, remember that faxing can be done online with no machine for free No Fax Machine? No Problem -- Easily Sign And Send Faxes From Your Computer No Fax Machine? No Problem -- Easily Sign And Send Faxes From Your Computer Till the day we can finally kill off this antiquated machine of the past, you might need to send a fax every once in a while but find yourself without a fax machine. Try HelloFax. Read More , for those rare times you still need to fax.

Borrow Ebooks and Other Digital Content

Lots of people have gone digital and prefer to read ebooks instead of physical ones Books Suck: Why I Love My Kindle More Than Dead Trees Books Suck: Why I Love My Kindle More Than Dead Trees Modern e-readers hold thousands of novels, weigh next to nothing, have built in lights, and don't give you a concussion when they hit your nose. Read More , and while there are pros and cons to both, you’ll be happy to know that most libraries now offer ebooks for borrowing Where Can I Borrow eBooks From? Where Can I Borrow eBooks From? If you have an e-reader, you will know how convenient eBooks are. I have a Kindle and I love it. It makes reading anywhere a breeze and I read a lot more too. However, the... Read More , too.

Check your local library’s website for information on the types of digital content you can borrow; one near me offers articles, audiobooks, books, magazines, videos, and music downloads. On college campuses, you might even be able to borrow video games. That’s a lot of great content that you don’t have to pay for — or even drive to your library to obtain!

Take a Technology Class

One of the best ways to improve your tech skills without spending anything 5 Ways To Quickly Improve Your Technical Skills Without Spending A Dime 5 Ways To Quickly Improve Your Technical Skills Without Spending A Dime People argue that training costs money - but for technical skills that just isn't true. You can improve your technical skills without paying - assuming you already have internet access that is, which is a... Read More is to take a class. While there are plenty of free resources and YouTube videos that can teach you the basics of anything, some might prefer an in-person teaching session to pick up the basics of tech skills.

Again, classes in your area will vary, but many of them teach basic tech skills 6 Basic Tech Skills Anyone Should Have (Even If You're Not a Geek) 6 Basic Tech Skills Anyone Should Have (Even If You're Not a Geek) If you consider yourself a geek, and have good control over your computer and other devices, this post might not be for you. If, however, you’re still finding your way in the computer world, or... Read More like how to Google search effectively 11 Advanced Searches To Bookmark To Become A Google Power User 11 Advanced Searches To Bookmark To Become A Google Power User Turn yourself into a true Google power user with these 11 advanced searches and pro tips. This will make sure you never have to recall these searches and yet will always have them at your fingertips. Read More , how to stay safe online, using strong passwords How to Generate Strong Passwords That Match Your Personality How to Generate Strong Passwords That Match Your Personality Without a strong password you could quickly find yourself on the receiving end of a cyber-crime. One way to create a memorable password could be to match it to your personality. Read More , and the like. If you need some help, don’t pay someone to learn these — head down to the library and improve your knowledge for free!

Check Out Hardware

Particularly if you’re at a college or university, you should look into borrowing equipment from the campus library. Some offer cameras or other expensive tools that you can borrow for a short time instead of buying your own — so if you need to film a short video for a class or just want to try a fancy camera to see if photography is for you Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Bit of Photography Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Bit of Photography Everyone should learn a little bit of photography because everyone can benefit from it. Here are five reasons why you should consider picking it up. Read More , you can greatly cut down the cost by utilizing the library’s resources.

Depending on how advanced your university is, you might even be able to utilize a 3D printer or other modern equipment without paying for it yourself. All you have to do is check out what your library has got.

Start Using the Library!

Are you convinced now that the library has plenty to offer, even if you don’t care about physical books? Take a trip down to your local library and have a look at their website to see which services they provide and how you can save money by using them. Libraries are around for everyone to use, so start taking advantage and cut tech costs down!

If you’re looking to keep saving on technology costs, make sure to cultivate good tech habits 5 Tech Habits You Should Cultivate If You Want to Save Money 5 Tech Habits You Should Cultivate If You Want to Save Money Cultivate these 5 habits to make sure you save money and get the gadgets and hardware you've been lusting after. Read More and know which upgrades to avoid 5 Tech Upgrades You Should Avoid (To Save Money) 5 Tech Upgrades You Should Avoid (To Save Money) Read More so you don’t spend too much, too.

Which technology services does your local library provide? Are there any other techy ways to save using the library? Let us know how your local library stacks up in the comments!

  1. Dee
    July 12, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I'm constantly singing the praises of my local library. Because of my library I haven't had to suffer through the expensive experience of goint to the movie theater. I always wait until a movie goes to DVD (which is pretty quick nowadays), then borrow it from my library. If my local library doesn't stock an item, I can request it from another and it's delivered to my local library. Perfectly convenient! I recently took a free tai chi class there as well. They have a free lunch hour with activities program going on now for the summer. During a power outage a few years back, the library was THE place to be. People went there to charge phones/devices, use computers, and yes read! It looked like a crime scene with bodies everywhere, but we all made it work. My library recently made e-readers with preloaded e-books available to borrow. The resources there are of great value to me.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      I'm not sure why the library gets a bad rap like it does, because you're right, it does include so many great resources.

  2. LisaGenius
    July 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I'm a librarian in a public library and we are busier than ever. People use all kinds of formats; the book is still a perfectly good piece of technology. And yes, we have "knowledge enough" to lock down our computers. Libraries saw the possibilities early on and started creating databases and catalogs in the mid 1980s. (maybe before some of you were even born) We're not only there for when your stuff breaks down, libraries provide computer access to people who couldn't otherwise afford it. Don't bury us just yet; we librarians are very adaptable people when it comes to information storage and dissemination. And yeah, my library has four or five 3D printers, computer classes, a Minecraft club, streaming video, and walk-in tech help. And lots of books.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Your library sounds awesome! Thanks for chiming in as someone with experience in the area :)

  3. fcd76218
    July 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Some vociferous residents in our town want to get rid of our library because "nobody borrows books anymore", "nowadays people only do research online" and "everybody has an e-reader".

    The public library in a neighboring town rents out e-readers with e-books preloaded.

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