The Library Can Save You Time and Money — Here’s How

Did you know that your local library likely offers music, TV and movies and school supplies? The library has become about more than just books.

Libraries have come a long way in recent years. The stereotypical stiff, dusty and dull storehouse of books from way back when has been replaced by a more relevant hub of information and community activities. Now more than ever, libraries reflect the interests and needs of the people they serve — and that’s a really good thing.

The library at Alma College is no exception. Staff there know that most college students have a lot on their plate, so they do everything they can to save you time. The library also offers a number of different entertainment options that you might not be aware of, which can save money. Matthew Collins, library director, took us beyond the stacks of books to explore all the library has to offer.

Spotify is great, but vinyl is final

Why bother with an online music subscription for $10 every month when you can get music at the library? Music students are probably familiar with the library’s collection of sheet music, but fewer know about the CDs that are available for checkout. Even more unique at Alma is the college library’s selection of vinyl records. They even have a record player that you can check out overnight.

Who needs Hulu when the library comes through?

When it’s time for movie night or a TV-watching binge, you can take the money you’d normally spending on streaming services and use it on popcorn instead. The library has you covered, thanks to a collection of more than 4,000 DVDs — including foreign language, documentaries, popular films and more. If you don’t have a DVD player, you can check one out at the library. You can also subscribe to Kanopy, a streaming service with classics and indie favorites, through the library. And if you really want to go old school, the library offers VHS tapes and a VCR.

Short on school supplies? Head to the library

Unless you sleep at the FedEx Office, your residence hall room probably doesn’t have a printer to use. They do come in handy, though. Thankfully, the library has several black-and-white printers, and even a color printer, which you can use for less than what cup of coffee costs. The library has scanners to use and dongles available to rent. And the Olofsson Lab has brand-new computers that come equipped with Microsoft Office.

The best resource a library has — its staff

It might sound corny, but library staff really want to help you — and in just about any scenario you can think of, they can do it. Matthew says librarians have assisted students with everything from car repairs to filling out forms to research papers. They have a lot of life experience to share! Our librarians are also trained to help people find the information they’re looking for. Don’t spend three hours trying to find a source in a book when a librarian can find it in 10 minutes — that’s what they’re there for. All that time you saved can be much better spent elsewhere.

The Alma College Library, in Alma, Michigan, is a tremendous resource for students, staff and faculty. For more information, visit

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Academic and Career Support