One of the greatest resources in the country is the public library system. It's technically not free, since you pay for it in your taxes, but you have to pay whether or not you use it, so really, you can count it as free. Libraries are full of great information in (usually) legitimate sources; they also supply other services to patrons, such as internet access and printing services. Librarians are excellent resources for helping you find out what you need to know or do, and some will even help you fine-tune your writing skills or hunt you down an event to attend. Here are some great ways to use your library!
Libraries are great places to learn a new skill. Although the internet can be useful for quick or language-oriented tasks, books are often better to lug around when you're trying to learn the skill and move about to do so. For instance, learning how to fix a car part will be tough to manage if you have to keep scrolling up and down (with greasy hands, no less) to see the whole graphic. With a book, you can flip it open to the right page and leave it on the desk without having to worry about switching spots.
Had a tough week? Escape into fiction with your library's nearly endless supply of stories. There are too many authors to ever imagine reading, and so even if your tastes in fiction are very specific, your library is likely to have something to capture your attention and allow you to forget reality for a few hours. Try out different genres, too -- at least give some of the better authors in each one a shot. You'll be surprised to find out what you enjoy!
Instead of renting DVDs, borrow films from your library and never pay an extra cent (unless, of course, you keep them late and get fined overdue charges). Libraries have a surprisingly good selection of movies, and though popular ones are usually checked out, you can always place a hold and wait your turn in line or borrow some older videos that won't be as in-demand.
Stop wasting money on printer ink and paper, and print free pages at your local library. While you're there, use the internet service provided and quit paying $60 or more per month on internet in your home. Granted, this won't work for everyone, since some people use these resources on a consistent basis (especially if the library is far away), but when you can, utilize them.
Bored on a Friday afternoon? Attend a community event, such as a poetry reading, book signing, cooking class, knitting demonstration, or general mixer. Your librarian should have a list of upcoming events at the library itself, and some will have the resources to track you down other local goings-on.
How do you utilize your local library? Tell us all about it -- email us at email@example.com. And when you're done, come on over to our main page for more great frugal tips on how to use something right in your neighborhood...garage sales!