The Best $10 You Can Spend On Your Business

I’m going to let you in on one of our biggest secrets. It’s a resource treasure trove that has helped shape our business and our art, and provides literally endless amounts of high quality inspiration. Have I piqued your interest?

The best $10 you can spend on your business is buying a library card.  


Why use the library?

Let’s start things off with a quote.

You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library

– Will in Good Will Hunting [Edited for potty language]

It’s a statement that puts in perspective the real cost of education. We live in a time where our access to information is unprecedented. You can learn (and master) nearly anything you like. The only thing you have to do is put the time into learning and practicing.

Besides the library being an incredibly cheap information resource, it’s also the form the information is in that makes it exceptionally valuable.

I’m talking about books.

The problem with the internet is that you have to search hard to find high quality information. This takes up a whole lot of valuable time. And even when you find some information, you can’t be sure of the quality, and it’s often cluttered with distracting advertising.

Not only that, but it often comes in the form of small information nuggets. Those are great, but if you want to really transform the way you think you need something more meaty. You want enough ideas and inspiration to make a difference.

Consume the weighty information you can learn from books and you’ll never regret it.

 

How to use the library

If you haven’t been to the library in a while now is the time to go check things out. I think you’ll find things have changed a little. Since libraries are different everywhere I can’t say things will work the same for you, but I’ll give you an example of how we use our library.

Our library (in Edmonton, Canada) has a website (http://www.epl.ca). Whenever we think of a topic we’d like to learn more about we visit their website and do a search.

Their website has the ability to track all the library books in circulation in Edmonton at all their branches. We find the books we want and reserve them online.  The books are shipped from whatever branch they are at and we can pick them up at our local branch.

Everything is automated. As soon as books come in we’re sent an e-mail letting us know they’re waiting to be picked up. If the book isn’t available we’ll be put on the waiting list, and e-mailed when it’s available. Their system also e-mails us a day before books are due so that we remember to return or renew them (which can be done online). We’re also able to borrow ebooks online. It’s magic.

If you’re not sure what you want to read but have a general topic in mind then head over to Amazon and peruse their best sellers list, then check to see if your library has the book – they often will. And if they don’t you can often request that they purchase a copy and you be put on a waiting list for when it comes in!

It’s also a great idea to just go for a walk through the library to get started. There are so many books that you wouldn’t even think to search that just pop out when you’re walking aisle to aisle. Pick up anything that catches your eye, grab a seat, and flip through it. The key is to just browse without limitations. You might find an artist or way of thinking that completely changes your perspective, or at the very least challenges it.

Finally, if you find a book that you keep taking out, or renewing, it might be worth buying. But be careful. When you think about it, books spend most of their time just sitting on shelves! There’s no point in buying books that you don’t absolutely love.

This weekend if you’re feeling like you could use a healthy dose of inspiration, go and stroll around your local library. It’s pretty much guaranteed to get your mind working and the creative juices flowing!

P.S. Also keep your eyes out for music, movies, and documentaries at your library; all amazing sources of inspiration as well!

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!

Comments

9 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. I really appreciate this blog post. I came to visit your site for the photography stuff, but I am a librarian at a public library. Sometimes, esp. when the funding discussions come around, we feel as if we're not appreciated, but it's good to know that there are people like you who are excited about what the library has to offer. Thank you for making my day!

  2. I am so happy I came across this post! My tiny library card has done wonders for my business. I go there for inspiration every week whether it be checking out a movie, a novel, some poetry or even a children's book! Ps. love the Good Will Hunting Quote:)

  3. I love this article! Libraries are SUCH an amazing resource. Just had a friend tell me they couldn't afford to buy a book I suggested so I sent them off to the library with a post-it note saying, "Moscow City Library, Understanding Exposure, By Bryan Peterson" :) Glad to know others appreciate it!

  4. I just found this website through a recomendation today. Good timing, i picked two photography books from Whitemud library here in Edmonton. All the good books seem to be in the downtown location. I think i will order them this week, thank you.

  5. Great advice. My library here in Australia is free so I've save $10 bucks. Have read most of the books in my local library now on photography and have suggested a few for them to buy in which they did.

  6. I was attending a local sunny school here in New York when I realised everything I was being tough I already knew .I went to my adviser and told him my discovery an he said i was here to get the paper. I did not like the answer I got so I went to the department chair and she added that I was getting much more I had the teaching of my Professor which sent other students to me to help them on their assignments when they couldn't figure out what he really had lectured on. I finally

  7. I was attending a local sunny school here in New York when I realised everything I was being tough I already knew .I went to my adviser and told him my discovery an he said i was here to get the paper. I did not like the answer I got so I went to the department chair and she added that I was getting much more I had the teaching of my Professor which sent other students to me to help them on their assignments when they couldn't figure out what he really had lectured on. I finally went to the Dean and got the same answer as the rest that I was getting a piece of paper that showed that I went to school for three years to learn what i already knew to get a BFA for 20000 dollars so i could get a job. It didn't make a lot of sense to me so I dropped out still paying off the loan for the 2 years I thought my professors class and should have stayed and had more debt but I would have got the paper and got paid much more money for having the paper.

  8. Phil, from the errors in your post, it sounds like you should go back to school!

    This is a great idea! I love my library and it saves me so much money. Thanks for the post!

  9. Yes and Yes. So much yes to the quote.
    Also I just want to say I really appreciate you guys for giving away all these wonderful ideas and resources and tips on your website. Really appreciate it!!

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