More people using libraries to save money, find jobs

I have a 4-year-old daughter who likes to watch videos: Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Elmo and lately, anything with a princess in it. The problem is at $19 or so each, buying the DVDs is insane, especially when she grows tired of them after a month or so.

My solution lately has been to go to our public library, where we can check out videos for a week at a time. We've been checking out books for her for years, but last month, when I first wrote about this topic, I discovered videos at the library. It turns out I'm not the only person making this discovery, as library usage is increasing as people look to save money from buying books and movies, and according to a Wall Street Journal story published Jan. 15, libraries are also attracting more job seekers.

The free Wi-Fi and computers are invaluable in a quiet place away from home to job hunt, with cities with high foreclosure rates seeing an increase in library usage.

I checked with a few librarians where I live, and learned that many patrons have been telling staff at the desk that they are now choosing to borrow books instead of buying them and checking out DVDs instead of renting. Monthly circulation at the library in Danville, CA is up 15% to 30% each month from last year, Seng Lovan, a senior community library manager in Danville, told me in an e-mail.