Now that the needed school supplies are purchased and all the forms filled out, take some time to visit your local library to make sure each family member has an up-to-date library card.
Save money and gas by using all of your library's resources - your library card gives you access to many online resources that you can use at home. In some states libraries have online help 24/7 so you can still ask a librarian a question even if your local library isn't open. (This may help when there is a homework crisis Sunday evening at 8 pm.)
You can browse your library's collection without leaving home by searching the library's catalog online. If you find something you want, you can usually call ahead and ask to have it set aside for you.
Many parents are reluctant to have their children use the library because of late fees. While they are usually small amounts per item, they can mount up when a child has several items checked out. Parents can avoid late fees by extending the borrowing time online. (That is, only if someone else isn't waiting for it.) Parents can keep track of what each child has and when it is due back by checking online at any time.
In tough economic times families have to be careful about expenses. It is very important for children to have some books of their own. Be selective about purchasing new books and borrow books from the library as well. Also, used books are cheap and many libraries have used book sales. For example, preschoolers love to have someone read to them, usually several books at a time. The library can provide a wide variety of titles for preschool children. Often a child will ask for the same book over and over. Parents should consider purchasing such a book for their child. It does not have to be a brand new hardcover book. Many picture books are also available in paperback or can be purchased used.
Also, save some money by taking advantage of the free programs your library has to offer. Many libraries have book discussion groups for adults as well as children. Most libraries provide something for everyone - from infants to senior citizens. Visit your library's web site to see what it has to offer.