You probably know that your library can offer you a selection of books, and that loaning books, CDs and DVDs from the library is cheaper than buying them. You may even be aware of some of the other free resources that Richmond upon Thames Borough libraries offers, like magazines, our eLibrary, and free taster sessions. But have you ever sat down and worked out how much money you could save by using your local library?

I have.

A pile of one pound coins

A years’ worth of savings

I decided to see exactly how much money I saved last year by using Richmond upon Thames Library Services. With the help of our online catalogue, where you can log in and see your account information – including past loans – I started off by calculating how much I saved by borrowing physical books. Books that had been renewed were only counted once. One of the books borrowed is no longer published, so that wasn’t included in the calculation. The total amount the rest of these books would have cost me to buy is £727.13 – a huge amount of money saved!

Next, I looked at the eBooks I had taken out. By going to the Cloud and Overdrive websites, both of which can be accessed from our Digital Library page, I could see the eBooks borrowed under the History shelves. I discounted any eBooks I hadn’t actually read and then calculated the cost of the remaining loans. Ultimately, the eBooks borrowed would have cost £24.51 if I bought them.

The third area where I saved a significant amount of money by using the library services were the Very Short Introductions. Our libraries have a number of online resources, all of which can be accessed from our Online Information Library page. Very Short Introductions is a series of books for beginners on a variety of topics. Anyone with a Richmond Borough library account and internet access can use the website. Using this resource, I read four Very Short Introductions in 2018, which would have cost me £32.96 to buy.

Just using these three services saved me £784.60 in 2018 alone – a pretty significant amount of money. However, I haven’t included all the other, more difficult to price services I used the library for.

For example, from the rest of our Online Information Library, I used Access to Research on a library computer to look up a couple of research papers. I used Newsvault to find newspaper articles (and to search for old local newspapers). I used our online access to the Oxford English Dictionary to look up the definition and origin of a few words. From our Digital Library, I used RBDigital to look up articles in back copies of magazines. I even found and listened to a few tracks on Naxos Music Library that were stuck in my head. All the resources I used – except our free Wi-Fi – would have cost me more or been inaccessible to me had I not had my library account.

How does this help me?

If nothing here interests you, then don’t worry – we have even more on offer. Our What’s On page has information about all of our events, the vast majority of which are free. This includes storytimes, reading groups, IT events, craft groups and all the other events constantly being added. We have other blog posts that can help you with your health, or that show our services for people with disabilities. You can also follow us on social media and be the first to find out about everything else we have to offer.

After all this, if you just wanted a book, then you can search our online catalogue of 113,000+ books. Even if we don’t have the book you want, you can put in a reservation for an item from one of our SELMS partners for £3. You can even suggest items be considered for stock under “Make a Stock Suggestion.”

How much will you save by using libraries this year?

[Iona, Librarian]