Wednesday, August 17, 2011

With the money I'm saving, I'll need books for a beach vacation soon.

This post is dedicated to the fun & fabulous blogger Annabelle over at The Shopping Detox who is the sassiest and funniest librarian that I've ever encountered. And she's frugal too!

When was the last time you visited your local library? I’ll admit that until I started a regiment of tight budgeting last summer, I hadn’t borrowed books from the library since my days as a zealous Girl Guide researching random subjects in an effort to earn badges. Even throughout university the library was simply a quiet place (most of the time) to get my work done. For all my reading needs, the bookstore was my go-to retail destination.

I pulled up my online order history with Chapters Indigo just for fun and in 2010, I purchased $520 of books and $340 in 2009. Granted, some of those purchases were gifts (e.g. the Kobo for my Eye Candy’s birthday), but they don’t factor in my impulse in-store cash purchases so they are a still strong indicator of how many books I was buying. Yet, in an effort to shop less & save more, these book purchases have become a thing of the past. Other than my Mum’s recent birthday gift for $27, I have not made any other book purchases. In fact, Chapters Indigo must be wondering where I’ve gone! Instead the local LaSalle librarians know me by name.

About 2 months ago, the Montreal library network upgraded their online catalogue to include every book in every borough regardless of your “home” library. Assuming you already have your free library card, your first step is to visit their Nelligan catalogue at and log-on with your username & password. (This should not be confused with visiting Hotel Nelligan which remains my favourite rooftop terrace in Montreal.)

Now it is possible to browse for your favourite titles and a reservation is just a click away.

Obviously I searched the Financially Fabulous guru herself,
Gail Vaz-Oxlade for the purpose of this demo.

Obviously I also reserved some much-needed chick lit.
A girl can't be good all the time.

The best part? You chose what local library you want your book shipped to and the librarians will call you when your book has arrived. In fact, it’s become a joke with my colleagues now as there is a high chance that when my cell phone rings during a meeting, it’s the library calling.

Today was no exception as I was thrilled to receive yet another call. I waltzed into the library after work and was handed my much-anticipated stack of reading material. The library is the ideal place to indulge my impulse shopping without paying a penny. After all, my tax dollars are hard at work here.

My "purchases" this month from my local library.

I currently have 10 books on loan –  while this may seem excessive, I do read at least a book a week so a girl needs her stockpile.  I've already half of them and I'm now writing book reviews for the upcoming viewing pleasure for my Financially Fabulous friends.

Once you’re at the library, feel free to browse some more. Why not also borrow some DVDs for rainy day viewing or CDs with songs of the world to set as background music for your next ethnic-inspired meal? Just make sure you keep track of due dates as Montreal charges $0.25 per day per book as a fine for your tardy material.

While that fine won’t break the bank, I’m more fearful of the stigma of being that girl who can’t even return her books on time. Fortunately, extending your loan is also just a click a way so be sure to bookmark the Nelligan catalogue site.

Don't forget to renew! And in the summer, Montreal
gives you 6 weeks to enjoy your book. What's there not to love?

Happy reading!


  1. Aw, you're so sweet.

    Yaaaay libraries! The library out here can send you email notifications, which is handy when you request as much stuff as I do.

    I also love that you used Mama Gail as an example of library-item-requesting. She'd be proud of you borrowing her books, rather than buying.

  2. I love Meg Cabot!

  3. @Annabelle - no email notifications yet, but I'm hopeful. Even just the online catalogue is a huge step up. You should see me now browsing Chapters online and reserving via the library. I'm hooked!

    And I figure if I'm dedicating a post to you, I better do it right and make sure mama Gail is in there too!

    @GND - I have giggle fits reading Meg Cabot! Have you read the Size XX is Not Fat series? I want a p/t job as a sleuth now.