Off The Press

September 24, 2013

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Go places, learn new things on the cheap

 Do you have a King County library card? At the low price of free, it’s one of the best values on the planet.

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little kid. Oh, the lives and worlds I’ve escaped into. Books can do that.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen R. Merrill
Press managing editor

I still have my first library card, which I got when I was 5. I also have my library awards from reading contests when I was a child. If they said read 50 books, I read 100. Ahh, nostalgia.

Seriously, though, the library is a wonderful place to be and a great service, especially if your pocketbook is slim. Movies? Free. Books? Free. CDs? Free. Databases and all kinds of awesome research tools, all free. Entertainment for children and adults. That’s free, too.

You don’t have time to spend at the library, you say?

I look up books/CDs/movies on the Internet and put them on hold. It takes just a few clicks. Then, they magically appear with my name on them at my local branch.

Just the other day, I went and picked up my holds and I got items from the following communities/libraries: Kingsgate, Woodinville, Sammamish, Lake Hills, Renton, Kenmore, Muckleshoot, Kent, Newport Way, Bellevue and Newcastle. Now, how much would it cost you to go to all of those places and find items and bring them back home? Gas money, time and energy. Whew! Learn more at

Here’s another awesome deal, the Issaquah History Museums. Guided tours, group presentations, special events, public programs, research into your history (because if you live here, the city’s history is yours), history hikes and volunteer opportunities. Two excellent museums, plus the trolley. An annual membership is only $20 for an individual ($10 for students and seniors) and $25 for a family. That gets you discounts and special invitations to things the rest of the public doesn’t get. Learn more at

Speaking of history, I’ve been learning more about my own. Every time I speak to my mother and father, I ask them questions about their lives. Recently, I learned about my mother’s volunteer efforts during the civil rights movement and her connection to Bobby Kennedy. Last weekend, I learned about my father’s first trip to a movie theater — 5 cents for the movie, 25 cents for a popcorn, soda and candy bar. (He doesn’t remember what movie.)

Talk about free entertainment!


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