Michael Finney's free entertainment tips


A night at the movies can be very entertaining, but it can also cost a bundle. Ticket prices in the double digits, popcorn, parking, a babysitter - it can make people want to spend less.

And there is a way to watch movies for free.

Lots of public libraries lend out movies for free. These days, it is popular service.

"About 40 percent of our circulation are DVDs," librarian Therese Cason said. "It's the most popular aspect of our collection."

For the first time, DVD lending is outpacing book lending at some libraries, including the Mission Bay branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

There, the library keeps adding movies to meet demand and, in turn, people keep borrowing more, Cason, the branch manager at Mission Bay, said. San Francisco libraries system wide offer 100,000 titles, a 32 percent increase in there collection in one year.

It is a lot like a video store, except it is free.

"In these economically hard times right now people are learning you can go to the library and get it for free, as compared to $4 a day," library spokesperson Marcia Schneider said.

And the library has more to offer than just old scratched up videos; their catalog includes 2008 releases.

"It's probably not as quick as you'll find it at Blockbuster, but it's not too far behind," Schneider said.

Library patrons also told ABC7 they borrow movies and CDs they would not try if they had to pay for them.

"If it was in a book store or a video store you wouldn't buy it, but if it's here just to check out, you're going to do that," one patron said.

San Francisco libraries will add 10,000 titles to their shelves next year.

Public libraries in other Bay Area counties also lend DVDs for free.

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