I have saved hundreds of dollars by using the Rudolf Steiner Library, and avoided many purchasing mistakes. I used to live about an hour from it, but now am about an hour and a half, so with the price of gas sometimes mail books and sometimes drive. The library itself is located in what I call "Waldorf Land" also know as Hawthorne Valley - home to a school, biodynamic farm, the Alkion Center, The Nature Institute and other anthroposophical related undertakings. Please, do NOT bring you children there without hats after September, you may get a few disapproving looks. It is that waldorfy. We do love to visit there. The farm is open for walking around, the raw milk is probably the best in the world (nothing touches those cows' lips that isn't grown on the farm) and the gorgeous school grounds are open when school is out. Really, if you could imagine what a dream waldorf school would look like, you have it pictured. But, back to the books.
The library is located up a hill, in a really cute house set back in the woods. I let the kids run around and play while I'm drooling over books, but they do have a few nice bins of children's books to peruse or check out. They have spent the last several years digitally cataloging their entire collection and it is all now online, so I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to check out before I get there. It is also very easy to use their catalog and request books to be mailed to you. The library mails using media mail, so it is only about $4 for up to 10 lbs of books (you can check out 8 books at a time). You must pay the shipping each way, they'll mail it to you and then when you return it you put the money for the initial shipping inside a book cover.
There are two ways to become a member of the library: join the Anthroposophical Society in America or join the library directly. You can become an introductory member of the Society for $40 your first year, and this includes the library plus regular mailings on anthroposophical topics including magazines, etc. After your first year it is $120/year, but you can pay this monthly if you wish. You may also join the library directly for $100 the first year and $50 in subsequent years. These amounts may seem high, but as you look through the catalog you will see that they own just about every book on waldorf education and homeschooling, including many that are out of print and not available anywhere else.
The librarians are helpful and kind and have made many book recommendations to me over the years. They are very friendly towards homeschoolers and seem to have made an effort to make purchases useful to homeschoolers. For example, they own quite a few Christopherus publications. They also have several copies of popular books, so you don't have to wait forever for something.
Tomorrow I'm going to review the ridiculously overdue books I have out currently. I'm planning to return them Friday, though. Promise!