A while ago, I posted a blog about what the library is worth to you. I got a couple really awesome responses. It seems as if libraries are experiencing a new popularity with the economy being kind of dumpy lately. Unfortunately, while the general public seems to appreciate the benefits the library can offer, many of the decision makers in Harrisburg & Washington don't "get it" - when I say decision makers, I mean those who decide where the money goes from the budget. Well, today we got a call from two different media sources asking about the use of the library and whether we've noticed a change. Have we ever!!!! 2008 was our biggest year of use since we began issuing library cards. We are very proud that we have been able to provide services to so many people. As an "exercise in futility" I tried to go back over all the books, magazines & services I've used since January 2009 and how much it would have cost if I'd purchased these items  and/or paid for the services. I was pretty surprised with my findings (keep in mind this is just 2 months worth!)BOOKS READ & PURCHASE PRICE Stitch & Bi*%$# Crochet: The Happy Hooker - $10.85 The Shack - $8.24 The Uglies boxed set - $18.47 A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - $10.17 Revolutionary Road - $8.97 Why Do I Love These People? - $10.17 Artemis Fowl, Book 1 - $5.99 Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident - $7.99 Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society - $13.20 The Magic Tree House boxed set: $10.85 The Love Dare - $8.24 The Tales of Beedle the Bard - $10.18 Say You’re one of them - $16.31 TOTAL BOOKS: $139.63I've also been brushing up on my German and trying to learn Spanish using our newest offering MANGO a language learning application available through our website... free. I had been considering purchasing something online at $494 per language, but Mango offers just as much, if not more, information than some of the other leading over the counter programs. Money Saved? $988Let's not forget my love of the sleaze - gossip magazines, I mean. My constant companion at lunch time is "People" magazine. If I had purchased each week's magazine, I would be looking at something around $40 already this year. So, to wrap it up - I have saved $1,167.63 for the first 2 months of the year. If I stay on this track, I will save around $7,000 thanks to our public library. OK, OK, full disclosure - I have racked up $15 worth of fines already, so subtract $90 from my total savings and we're still looking at close to $6,900. Now, my math is kind of bad (I work in a library, not at an accounting firm) so there may be an error or two in my math, but I think you get the picture, hey? I really hope we won't be forced to reduce services and/or hours thanks to budget cuts, but we're all tightening our belt this year, aren't we? There is a definite plus side to supporting your library though. Think about it!