Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Check it out.
That's what users of public libraries are doing in record numbers these days.
In an effort to stay entertained and informed without breaking the family budget, americans are taking advantage of the best deal in town.
Everything at the libary -- books, cds, even video game sessions -- is free.
Heidi Campbell's family skipped its summer vacation this year in large part because of soaring gas prices.
Campbell says her family visits the Charleston branch of the Kanawha County Public Library once a week because they don't have to spend any money there.
The American Library Association says usage nationwide was 10 percent higher in the past year than during the 2001 economic downturn, when it tracked a similar spike in visits and circulation.
Libraries recorded 1.3 billion visits and patrons checked out more than 2 billion items from April 2007 to April 2008.
(Copyright 2008 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)