The Library is For Success Not Cheapskates

by Small Business Planned

The self imposed 24 hour Wikipedia blackout  has just ended. Students trying to do their research without blatantly copying may have been forced to visit an institution that only their parent’s had heard about. The library.

When I attended school, the library was kind of known as a geeky place. The majority of the books were on dirgey school topics or as closely aligned to education as possible. Apart from the section on ghosts and science fiction, which was kind of cool. This  library layout is understandable. It’s a school asset. Unfortunately this library setup creates a perception gap in our minds once we leave school. We leave school thinking ‘libraries are for school books… boring.’

But these days nothing could be further from the truth. Your local library (well if it’s any good) has a diverse range of practical business books, up to date technology manuals, back issues of specialty magazines, insightful biographies and a full collection of Mills and Boon romance novels (apparently ‘Decoded’ is the best).

Picture of library Books

The Library: Learn From Others For Free

You don’t blink at borrowing a DVD for entertainment, so why shy away from borrowing a book to further your knowledge? Libraries are incredible free assets that you should take full advantage of. Otherwise you’re a fool.

Which brings me to one of my favourite quotations:

” You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie Jones

Or put simply, you need to be exposed to ideas and knowledge to continually grow and succeed. Go ahead and stand on the shoulders of giants that have paved the way before and learn from their mistakes and triumphs. You will be surprised how they can help you further your own small business or activity.

I’ve normally got one or two books out from the library at one time. Personally, I have borrowed books on marketing, sales, design, coding, photography, leadership and innovation. The best way to read these books is with a pen and paper. This allows you to note key ideas and concepts that you can later adapt. But this technique is for another post.

Yes I admit, I’ve borrowed some bad excuses for books as well – so I just found myself skimming the pages and admiring the pretty pictures. But it was no big loss, as they didn’t cost me anything. Plus truth be known, I did learn one or two things from those bad books anyway – so it all helps.

Below are the benefits you get out of using a library

  • You have access to free books, CDs and DVDs
  • You can usually borrow unlimited items
  • You can usually renew these items twice online, so there’s no need to trapse back to the library for a new stamp
  • Most libraries have free internet and WIFI
  • Libraries are quiet, freeing you from distraction so you can complete a work task
  • Reserving a popular book that’s on loan, then being notified of its subsequent availability

And if you are a fiction junkie, you can also go nuts in the story aisle to help you sleep at night (see point 5).

So, next time you find yourself hovering around your local library, slip on in and sign up for a free library card. Try out two or three books that you think could help your small business and flick through them with a cup of coffee.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


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10 thoughts on “The Library is For Success Not Cheapskates

  1. Tracey Allen

    Couldn’t agree more David. I returned to my local library about 2 years ago, and much had changed since my High School and University years. I can now search, reserve and renew items online using an extensive user friendly database, and I receive an email notifying me my goodies are ready to collect.

    Everything is free and most books can be borrowed for 4 weeks – inter-library loans for 6 weeks – which is plenty of time to get through that hefty tome. Those with iTunes can borrow CDs for free, import the songs and return the CD to the library, all for free, fantastic!

    Library staff are always willing to help users locate hard to find books, and it really is an untapped resource for most people. A very timely article David!

  2. David Moloney Post author

    Hi Trace,

    Yes it’s a great system. One that we pay through our rates, so it’s worth using it to its full potential. In addition to the initial borrowing period of 4 weeks, you can usually extend it online a further two times – giving you access to the book for potentially 12 weeks. Good deal.

  3. Nicholle Olores

    So true. Reading books in the school library is kind boring to me and I hate it. When I was in college I never been in the library ever since and even once when I was a freshmen student. David this deal from you is good I am interested to it.

  4. Lisa Wood

    Hi David,

    We must be the odd family out as we love the Library. My boys like to go at least once a week – we usually borrow that many books that our cards are full!!

    We also have a card per person ;)

    When I was studying to be a nurse I used the library a fair bit as it was a great place to find out all the information for my assignments.


  5. Harry Lynn

    G’day David,
    What an excellent post. Isn’t it funny how we all lean on Wikipedia instead of going to the library.
    Still have my library membership and use it !

  6. Renee

    Hi David,

    interesting. I grew up in Germany and the only school library we had was run by a group of volunteer students and all the books were donated. So it was a lot of fun literature and nearly no academic stuff.

    I guess the main reason for this difference is the difference in school systems between Germany and Australia. But it had the advantage that I still love my library.

    I remember that my parents took us to the public library when we were kids, and I was told that there is a limit of 3 books that anyone could borrow. It was always hard for me to pick only 3 as I would have loved to take half of the library with me.

    And one day I saw someone returning what must have been 15 books at once. I was totally gobsmacked and dared to ask the librarien how that could be as there was this 3-book-limit. My parents weren’t too pleased that she told me the truth – no limit on the number of books you can borrow. That limit had been introduced by my parents just for us kids ;)

  7. Jan Littlehales

    When my boys were young we visited the library often but I’m afraid we are a family that has gradually slipped out of the habit. On the odd occasion I do visit our local (very good) library, I always wonder why I don’t use it more often.

    I regularly buy books – books that I could have borrowed for free – but there’s just something about a new book that appeals – to be the first to open the pristine pages – very special :) As a result, we are always running out of shelf space and I regularly donate books to local charity shops.

    My youngest son loves the smell of new books! Hey, if it keeps him reading, who cares!

    1. David Moloney Post author

      I must admit that I do like to buy books that I like to keep – especially as I like to underline passages and write notes on the pages. These are non-fiction books ofcourse.

  8. Daniel

    That is funny, I was not aware Wikipedia went offline. In my case I have my books, but it is really true that going to libraries is kind of boring. It is better borrowing books and read them at home.


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