Free movies rentals for life.

By Paul Michael on 6 February 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 10 comments

free rentals dvd

Seriously, when I tell most people that I have a deal that blows Netflix or Blockbuster Total Access out of the water, they think I'm all talk. But here's the truth. I can't remember the last time I paid for a DVD movie rental. And it's all thanks to my public library.

I can't say for certain what kind of library resources you have where you are, but here in Colorado they're pretty darned good. And my local library happens to be an excellent resource for hundreds of movies. Now, I can already hear the mutters of discontent. "They're old movies, they only have one copy, they never have the new releases or the movies I want." Yes, and no.

For those of you who plan to use your library like your local Blockbuster or handy online DVD rental site, you'll be disappointed most of the time. When you get to the library, the DVDs left on the shelf are not exactly something to write home about most of the time (although let me add, I’ve found some real gems just sitting on the shelves). But I don't just drop in any old time to get mine. I use the online reservation system and I book way ahead of time. It's that easy, really.

We all know when the DVD releases are due. You can find that information anywhere, including amazon.com and any online video store. So, when you know the release date, do a search for that movie on your library's online reservation system. They get all the new releases, usually at least 10-12 copies of the bigger movies between all the branches. Then, simply put a hold on a copy, and your name goes on the list. You'll have to wait a few weeks if you’re not first in line. But are you really that desperate to see it anyway? And besides, it's FREE. Well, ok, it's not really free, your taxes are paying for it. But if you're paying for the service anyway, why not use it?

Moreover, if you get into the habit of doing this, you'll always have new DVD rentals coming to you courtesy of your local library. You keep them a week, or more. And the late fees will not kill you, unlike the sham that is Blockbuster (keep it more than a week and boom, you buy the thing until you return it. And even then, there's a restocking fee).

Another great part of the library in my state is something called Prospector. If you can't find the DVD you want, perhaps it's really obscure or old, then Prospector will search every library in Colorado for you. The price? Nada, again.

Looking for something and no branch in the state has it? Well, order it. Most libraries have funds set aside for buying new materials on customer request. I'm a bit of a Bob Ross painting fan, and my local library ordered a whole series of his instructional DVDs for me for nothing at all. And now many other patrons are enjoying them too.

Maybe you like foreign films. Well, the library has that covered now with a whole section devoted to foreign language films. They have books on CD, soundtracks, anything you could possibly want for your home entertainment. And once again, the price is a big fat zero.

I've always been a fan of the library, but these days I'm more like an addict. I get all the movie rentals and CDs I want. The latest book releases. The best soundtracks. And all on a budget of zilch. Just remember to use the online reservation, book early (or very very early for something like Cars or Pirates Of The Caribbean) and you'll never be disappointed. Now, I'm off to watch Lady In The Water. I've heard it's not so good, but when you pay nothing for the rental it doesn't seem so bad if the movie blows.

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Chris Johnson's picture

Great Idea! I haven't even been in a public library since I was in gradeschool. I had no idea they offered anything but books!

I had the worst experience ever the last time I rented from Blockbuster. This sounds like a great way to give them the finger!

Sarah Winfrey's picture

...though I usually only use it for books.  Their policy on DVDs isn't so good here (LA County).  i think you can keep the older movies for a week, but the new ones you can only keep for a day or two.  At least, that's how it was the last time I looked into it.  And, at least at one point, they actually charged a dollar or two for some of them.  But don't quote me on that! 

Guest's picture
Zachery

It is about time people rediscover the library again. Most people have no idea how advanced libraries are in 2007. People also stop using the library and then turn around and complain when libraries get less and less funding. Thank you for bringing attention to libraries once again. I notice this blog has a high concentration of avid readers and library users. Definitely a bookmark for me.

Andrea Karim's picture

Our central library in Seattle is quite the attraction, but it's downtown, and thus, kind of a pain for me to get to on an average day. I kind of miss living in a small town that had one big library; the ones here are all dispersed. But the online system for checking out and renewing selections is truly awesome. I will never miss the card catalogue.

Which, incidentally, is a very, very hot piece of furniture right now. You can buy old card catalogues on craigslist, if you're lucky, for thousands of bucks.

Guest's picture

I live a mile from the largest county library here in Maryland, but I live a quarter mile from Blockbuster. It happens that in my case, receiving movies via the mail and having the option to return them in-store at more convenient times than the library is best.

I would love to be a recurring library patron, but the Blockbuster Total Access plan is just much more convenient and time/cost effective for me. I say cost-effective because for now, I have to pay to park at the new library, and my time is more valuable than spending time trying to get a movie on a long waiting list. Plus, we go through about 10 movies a month, so it comes down to less than $2 a movie, and we rarely need to leave our home to get the movies.

Guest's picture
meshack vigah

thank you....

Guest's picture
Kat

I'm in Colorado, too, and I've noticed that the libraries are great for seasons of TV shows. Denver Public Libraries alone introduced me to Smallville, Bullshit and Sex & the City to name a few. The Cherry Creek branch has an even better selection, including The Boondocks, Seinfeld, Reba, Lois & Clark...you name it. Sure, some discs might be scratched, but I'm fine with it if it's free. If one disc doesn't play you can rent it at Blockbuster for a fraction of the price to rent the full season.

angelfast's picture

I agree on what everybody says...I believe there' more to discovered in books than that of your favorite car and car parts such as that of your Dodge tail light and the like...

After all books are the source of new inventions…Most of the technology that we have today is because of the knowledge that we’ve learned from our favorite books...

 

I really like the post. Thank you...

Well as the famous saying goes—Knowledge is powerLaughing

Guest's picture
Cindy M

I doubt I'll ever pay for a movie again. My libraries are great and have tons of DVDs and VHS tapes (I still use my old VHS player and have managed at garage sales and thrift stores to buy VHS tapes for as low as 50 cents). I figure any movie I haven't seen already is "new" anyway, and I never mind watching an old favorite comedy. Most times I'll see previews of a movie I might want to view and will reserve it if I can ahead of time and have had pretty good luck that way.

Another idea is if you really admire a certain actor's work (or director or whatever) to check out a list of everything they've done and track the movies down, have a kind of film festival at your house, make it a Christian Bale or Al Pacino night, ha-ha. Cheap entertainment. The IMdB site is good for checking out lists like that.

Guest's picture
Guest

bleh, my library charges for dvd and cd rentals. $1-$3 a day.