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Monday, April 27, 2009

Naperville Public Library- A resource for the frugal mom

Today's guest post is from McMama  from Naperville

With the economy in a crunch, everyone's looking to cut back on non-essentials, but it's easy to overlook an excellent source of frugality: your public library. And, in Naperville, at least, maybe not for the reasons you would expect. Despite the recent $1.5 million budget cut, the Naperville Public Library (NPL) system continues to provide many awesome money saving services to its patrons. Here are some you might not know about.

Naperville Public Library consists of three locations, Nichols (200 W. Jefferson in downtown Naperville), Naper Boulevard (2035 S. Naper Blvd.), and 95th Street (2015 Cedar Glade Dr.).

Naperville residents can get a library card from any location with two forms of identification (with address). If Nonresidents can still take advantage of almost all of the services below by paying an annual fee of $100 for a full-service NPL card. A library card isn't necessary to take advantage of most activities. The nitty-gritty details are available here:

1. DVD Rental for the Grown-Ups

Old classics aren't the only movies available! NPL offers a constantly growing list of new releases along with older "hot" titles. They even have Blu-Ray! For just $1 per title, you can rent a 1-2 disc adult title for 7 days or a 3+ disc title for 14. You can keep titles with a red "hot" sticker for 3 days, and everything is renewable up to 5 times if it's not on hold for another patron.

You can even rent entire seasons of television series for the same low price. If you find yourself spending more than $5-10 per month, you might consider paying the annual A/V fee. For $75 per year, you get unlimited rentals. If you can keep to the rental times and not rack up late fees, this is a better deal than Netflix or Blockbuster.

2. DVD Rental for the Kids

From Dora the Explorer to Signing Time to Bill Nye the Science Guy, you can find pretty much any children's series, movie, or special in the children's section of the libraries. And these are free! Children's movies are a 14 day rental.

3. Virtual Library
For Naperville residents only, NPL carries a digital collection of e-books, audiobooks, and videos. Rental periods vary, but this is quite a handy resource for those who like their information on-the-go. The eVideo library even includes a few kids' shows!

4. Playrooms and Activities (not just for kids!)
If you've ever been to any of the three NPL locations, you know there are a ton of fun things for the kids to do. From puzzles to computer games, kids can keep busy on a cold or rainy day. But do you know about all of the activities NPL has to offer? They change by season, but you can always find out what's going on through the NPL web site. This month, there are storytimes for three different age groups (2, 3, and 4,5,k), as well as a lapsit for the babies and a family storytime. There are craft days, signing workshops, and themed activities.

For teens and adults, you'll find Wii nights, advisory groups, book clubs, and computer classes, among other things. ALL FOR FREE!

5. Online Catalog and Holds
Find out what's available before setting foot out the door! At you can search the library's catalog, find out what materials the library carries AND whether or not they are available. The catalog will tell you at which location an item is located, and allow you to place a hold on an item. Don't underestimate the value of holds! Not only can they be used to stand in line virtually, they can also save time. If you put an item on hold via the web, you can specify which location you want it to be held at. The library will transport it to that location and put it on the self-serve hold shelf. Then all you have to do is show up at your location of choice and visit your assigned space on the hold shelves to pick it up.

6. Interlibrary Loan
Can't find it at NPL? Request to have it sent from another library. NPL's web site has links which allow you to search ILLINET (the statewide interlibary loan network) and OCLC (a worldwide interlibrary loan network) for books the library doesn't have in stock. You can then use an online (or in-library) form to request the item. This service is often free, depending on the location of the material. The loan period for ILLs depends on the lending library, but is usually at least a few weeks. There are no renewals allowed on ILLs.

NPL offers many other services, such as advanced search capabilities, computer labs, free wifi, free ResearchPro access, and more. Check out their web site at or talk to a librarian for more information .

If you don't live in Naperville, check out your local public library and see what they have to offer.

If you know of a local find that other mamas might benefit from, please share it with us. E-mail us at dupagemamas(at)gmail(dot)com with your post or your idea. We would love to hear from you!!


Miss Kita April 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM  

I totally agree -- libraries are an amazing recession-buster. The Aurora Public Library is my one luxury. Where else can I browse for books at midnight online, and they arrive on the shelf 24-hours later?

I usually can't remember the names of those books that make people say, "Oh you MUST read it!" But when I'm surfing online and see a great recommendation -- get on the list!

Our library trips tend to be 99% kid-focused, so this means I get books I want each trip without dragging my kids to the grown-up section.

Another great find -- books on CD, which can be burned to the iPod for long trips, siblings who have to wait around or whatever. We got the Magic Tree House books on CD and my kids read along in first grade.

Also, most of the libraries have ongoing book sales -- a buck or $.50 for books. It's a great way to stock up for summer!

Finally -- don't forget that your library card works at other libraries in the area. We've done reciprocal borrowing at Warrenville Public Library, Naperville, etc!

Anonymous,  June 13, 2009 at 1:25 AM  

@Miss Kita - I do the same thing on library trips, checking the online catalog for my items and letting the kids browse.

We check out a lot of books at a time, so we also use RenewBot to automatically renew our books in case we forget.

If you haven't seen RenewBot yet, check it out at renewbot(dot)com and sign up - they have a free trial for two months.

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