Working full-time as a writer has been wonderful. I’ve not regretted my decision for a moment. But subsisting on only one income has made me more cautious, crafty, and thrifty. In short, I’ve become a bottom feeder.
I’m the woman in the department store making a beeline for the clearance rack. I clip coupons, walk and carpool to save gas, exercise at the park instead of buying a gym membership, and get my haircut at the local trade school (which I don’t recommend – my hair turned out a mess). Yesterday at Goodwill, I got a blazer and a bike helmet for $8.32!! (Vegas Locals – on Tuesdays you get an addition 25% if you show any casino players card)
By far the greatest resource available for scavengers like me is the library (and no, I don’t mean the Vegas strip club by the same name). I visit the library at least once a week and browse their website almost daily. Currently, I have 4 books, 1 eBook, and 1 audiobook checked out (plus 3 books on the hold list). I’ve been serially borrowing one book, Everyday Life in the Middle Ages, for almost a year straight.
While the Clark County Library District doesn’t boast statuesque buildings like the Denver Library (great genealogy section there, btw), their facilities are plentiful and functional. Once I navigate past the throngs of homeless crowding the magazine section (it’s HOT outside and they need somewhere to go), a veritable treasure trove awaits. Books, movies, music, audiobooks, magazines—free knowledge and entertainment right at my fingertips. If the book I want isn’t on hand at my local branch, they’ll ship it there. I can download eBooks directly to my Kindle. Workshops, lectures, used book sales, art exhibits, and author visits fill the calendar board.
And sometimes it’s nice just to slip away somewhere quiet and read.
So dig out your trusty library card and put it to use! Nowadays, if you have a laptop you don’t even need to move beyond your couch to access many of the benefits. I’m an aspiring author, so of course I want you to buy books too. But in a nation crippled by debt, waste, and pollution, living light behooves us all.
Libraries have been a cornerstone of advanced societies for millennia. They benefit rich and poor, koi and catfish alike.