I'm a big fan of libraries. I forgot how great they are for a few years after college but have been a frequent patron of Crandall Public Library for the past four years.

I have rarely looked for a book that was not available somewhere in the network and my requests for books from other libraries have been filled quickly.

But did you know you can get books from other networks?

Recently I found out about a new service. Or rather a new-to-me service; the library has been offering it for a long time. You can borrow books from almost any library in the country.

It's more complicated than borrowing within the network, but the reference librarians will help you. They use a service to check all libraries' catalogs and then libraries ship books through the mail.

The catch is that it's not always free. When you make your request, they'll ask you if you're willing to pay and how much. Not all libraries charge (Crandall doesn't for books they share with other networks), but some do. The librarians will work with you to stay within your budget. Charges come from the cost of mailing the book and from lending the materials beyond the network.

Follow Diana C. Nearhos on Twitter @dianacnearhos.

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