PSA: Gamers Should Visit Their Local Library
About two years ago I read an interesting comment in the Nintendo Switch Deals subreddit. It suggested to “see if your local library has the game so that you can try it out before you buy it”. I had no idea that libraries carried games, mainly due to not visiting a public library in over 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love books and read them when I can. Despite this, I get books from Amazon, a local bookstore, or secondhand from friends and neighbors. So the idea that I could go to a library and get a new $60 game for free was extremely exciting. Then I learned that the library where I lived did not carry video games.
At that point in my life, I was extremely busy. I was working full-time, planning my wedding, moving back to my hometown, and looking for employment in that area. So it didn’t really matter that the local library didn’t carry video games; I didn’t have much time to play them anyway. Then all of the formerly mentioned things happened. I relocated back to my hometown, got a new job, got married, went on a honeymoon. Finally, I was settling into my new life.
About a year passed before I drove by my now local library, deciding to stop in. I walked in and about 10 feet away from the entrance was a shelf dedicated to “adult” video games. Adult here meant anything ESRB rated from T-M. To my astonishment, there were about 30 PS4 games and about 30 Xbox One games. Sadly, no Nintendo Switch games. Not only was I surprised by the quantity, but also the quality. Games that I really wanted to play but couldn’t justify paying full price for were staring right back at me. I grabbed A Plague Tale: Innocence, Anthem, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and Devil May Cry 5. In the separate section for kids games, I picked up Paw Patrol: On a Roll!. That last one was for my niece and nephew who, like most kids their age, are obsessed with Paw Patrol.
With said games in hand, I walk up to the counter and ask the clerk at the counter how it works. She informs me that there is no fee to sign up, there are no late fees, and patrons could rent video games out for three weeks at a time. Not only that, she also informs me that there are 14 other libraries in the county and items can be transferred, held, picked up, and returned at any of these locations, interchangeably. This is all pretty standard stuff for regular library visitors, but was a shocking revelation to me.
Since then, I have been able to try and/or complete over 20 video games that I didn’t have the money (or burning desire) to purchase. Sure, I might have to wait for a new game to be ordered and then transferred to my desired pickup location, but the end result is the ability to play that game for free. Combined with gaming being a relatively expensive hobby, this has been a truly transformative experience. To summarize, my advice to you would be to see if your local library carries video games (if you haven’t already), because it could save you a lot of money and provide you with numerous hours of entertainment.