Hidden Secrets of your Local Library

Summer is here! With no school and no snow here in Minnesota, everyone is getting out of the house and enjoying this season! It is so fun to be able to explore and spend more time with people, but summer also tends to be a bit of a budget-buster for some people. It’s not just the evenings with friends that can hurt the budget for us, but the work day as well! One of our secret weapons for staying on budget during the summer, while still getting out of the house, is our local library!

Central Park - connected to our local library and so pretty!

During the Workday

I work from home, but during the summer, it is easy to get antsy and want to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Plus, there are more distractions like the lawn service, the new roof we’re getting this year, and the neighbor kids running around outside. Sometimes I need a change of scenery to buckle down and really get some work done.

My go-to during the year is often a local coffeeshop! It’s a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and get some work done in a fairly quiet atmosphere. However, as I get more and more antsy during the summer, it would mean more and more coffee. A coffee every day really adds up, so I had to find a new solution.

Our local library here in Woodbury, MN is a GREAT place. Like any library, it has some dedicated work spaces. My favorite place is a table in the back corner that is nice and peaceful (and has an outlet – a rare commodity). However, there are a quite a few work spaces scattered around, including a “Quiet room” for the silent workers!

One thing about our local library that I LOVE is the building it is housed in. Unlike many libraries, ours is not a stand-alone building. It is housed in a community-center-esque building that is called our “Central Park”. The building has a lot of sunlight and plants and is just GORGEOUS. I love to pull up a seat by the waterfall or the fireplace when I want to get some work done!

Local library with the kids

Central park with lots of plants, and a view of the library entrance behind

We don’t have kids, but if we did, we’d be at the library even more! There are great story times, activities, books, and more in the library itself. In the community center, there is an indoor playground AND it’s connect to the YMCA. On the weekends, our town’s Farmers’ Market is in the parking lot! There is no shortage of activities that are family friendly!

Most libraries also have great summer programming for kids and teens that encourage reading and offer fun activities and incentives. At our library, kids can earn tickets to the State Fair, Minnesota Twins game, and kid activities at the Mall of America. We also have an Adult Reading program, so you can make summer reading a family activity!

Saving Money

We save a lot of money on renting things from the library as well. I love to read (and buy books for that matter) so being able to read as many books as I want BEFORE I decide if they are worth spending money on is so helpful. Our library doesn’t have the greatest selection, so I track books that I want to read on goodreads.com and use our library’s great interlibrary loan system. It takes a little longer to get the books that I want , but saving them on a list is super helpful!

Getting work done out in Central Park - the change of scenery from the library to here is nice too!

We often overlook the other rentals available at our library. A great selections of movies, TV shows, magazines, and even video games can give you plenty of options of other FREE things you can do during the summer.

We can also get discounted tickets to many local theaters and museums. Our local Culver’s even hands out free scoops of custard just for showing your library card! There are so many great places in the Twin Cities that partner with local libraries as well.

Don’t underestimate your local library!

If your local library system is anything like ours, you may be shocked at how many options there are. Think outside the box, and ask around to see what other people use the library for. Ask a librarian to talk through some of the partnerships or deals they have, and for recommendations specific for you and your family. This summer, we expect to spend a number of workdays and weekend outings at our local library!