Does Your Town Have a LoT? You Know – a Library of Things?Have you visited your local library lately? What if I tell you that it's a gift that keeps on giving? Let’s talk about why.

Why a Library is Your Best Local Resource

The library is no longer just a place to check out books. It’s expanded its scope of services and has become one of my top three resources for frugal living.

The most exciting new development for libraries across the U.S. is the concept of the “Library of Things.”

Basically, it means that members can check out items other than books.

I live in Colorado, and the Denver Public Library website has a dedicated page detailing the different items that people can borrow. To reserve the different items that are available, you just have to sign into the online portal and use your library card to check out various items. Denver’s Library of Things includes a GoPro, a week-long pass to the state’s national parks, a museum pass, a wireless hot spot, and a projector. After you request the item, you pick it up at the branch that you requested the items be delivered to.

Currently, GoPro cameras (and their supporting equipment) range from $170 to $500. That gets bit pricey – especially if you don't plan to use it often. For people who would like to use a GoPro – or go to the museum, or enjoy the parks – but can’t or don’t want to shell out all that money, the Library of Things opens up opportunities.

The museum pass that the Denver Public Library loans out is actually a family pass, so you can take your loved ones with you and enjoy what the city has to offer for free. And the Library of Things' pass to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science includes access to the Imax theater. Library patrons can reserve up to seven passes, which would otherwise cost $150 altogether.

And if you don’t want to hang out at the library all day long, don’t worry. The process of picking up an item or receiving access electronically is super quick.

The library isn’t just about books anymore. Across the country, more and more libraries are offering extended services.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Places like the Sacramento Public Library offer sewing machines, 3D scanners, and XBOX video games. I would love to use the 3D scanner, which might otherwise cost $150 or more.

The Guardian recently asked, “Is the Library of Things the answer to our peak stuff problem?” I would give a hearty, “Yes!” Having access to a resource like this helps savvy citizens save money.

And it’s not just libraries that are offering items for checkout. There are also other online systems where members pay a small fee to gain access to items that they don't use often. As minimalism catches on, more and more people look for creative ways to access things that they would like to use for free, for cheap, or without taking up space in their home.

So if you haven’t been to a library recently, maybe it’s time that you did. See if your local library has stuff to lend. If they don’t, tell them about the Library of Things!