6.18.2015

BOOK THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY | HAPPINESS IS YOUR OWN LIBRARY CARD


The world of books is never boring. Every week (well, most weeks) I'll discuss a different topic related to books, often inspired by or in response to what's going on in the online book community (or something I've seen another blogger talk about). I call this Book Thoughts on Thursday. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, or even write your own post on the topic and share the link with me! 

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So I had some bad news this week. I went to the dentist on Monday, and despite liking my new dentist, the news was less pleasant - it's looking like I might have to give up at least one of my wisdom teeth, which I'm not excited about.

Needless to say, I wasn't in the best of moods following that visit. So to cheer myself up, I made a bee-line for the nearest building full of books, which happened to be the snazzy new library. I hadn't gotten around to visiting or getting a card, partly because I've got so much to read already, and partly because with the amount of books I own, I've got a deathly fear of bedbugs. I know, I know, bedbug outbreaks in libraries are rare, and the one in a downtown library was years ago now. But still, I've been a little squeamish.

However, walking in the doors, seeing the books lined up on the shelves, the kids poring over the picture books, the smiling faces of the library staff... well, it felt pretty much like coming home. Before I knew it I had a library card, an armful of books to take home and several more on hold. 

I'd forgotten how great libraries are. It's like being in a bookstore except you can take as many books home as you want, without spending any money, and if you don't like them there's no buyer's remorse cos you can just return them!

http://kathrynwhiteauthor.blogspot.ca/2013/05/happiness-is-having-your-own-library.html

I've been thinking a lot since my library visit about the vital role libraries play in communities - not only as an introduction to books for many children, but as a way for adults to continue expanding their horizons, as a vehicle for facilitating community engagement - and even helping job hunters. Even though I've been fortunate enough to be able to read voraciously without needing a library in recent years, that hasn't always been the case - and isn't the case for many people.

I know that as bloggers we are lucky to get books sent to us for review, which eases our need to purchase or borrow books. We also, I think, tend to prioritize book buying in our budgets because we want access to new releases sooner than we could get them from the library. And because we see books as a valid decorating choice. But I also know a lot of us use the library - even do library reading challenges.

For myself, I know I'll utilize ebook lending more than physical books simply because I've got a terrible memory and forget to return books, and with ebooks they return themselves. It also saves me a bus token. But now that I've re-discovered my love of the library I will head up to spend some time there, just to see what's new, find some books on the shelves I never would have stumbled across otherwise, and remind myself what a magical place it is. 

So what I'm wondering is this: Do you all use libraries? Why or why not? Do you still borrow physical books, or have you switched to ebooks for the most part? And, come to that, do all your libraries have ebook lending? I'd love to hear your thoughts - and any other comments you might have to share about what your libraries mean to you, how they've changed and why you think they are or aren't as important as always.

16 comments :

  1. I go to my local library once a month, but mostly just to exchange old books for new ones, as I've misplaced my library card and I don't have to show it, if every time I take out some more books. And they don't really have that many books, it's a small library. But I sometimes come across some good classics, and I can borrow books, that I wouldn't usually buy or read, like national modern literature. They don't lend ebooks. I don't think any of our libraries do. But in my country both the libraries and book publishers aren't in the best condition (even though they try to deny it and act tough).

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    1. I have to admit (shamefacedly) that when I was writing this post, I was thinking of what it's like where I live (Canada). Here we're lucky - there are bookstores everywhere and well-stocked libraries with ebook lending and inter-library loans for every community. Though we might have to wait a little while for the brand new releases, for the most part we can get our hands on pretty much any book we want and are spoiled for choice. It's something I'm incredibly thankful for, and a huge part of why I think libraries are so important, particularly in places where it's harder to get books. I mean, I know I'm biased, but I think reading is basically a human right! Joking, but only kind of. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your library experience!

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    2. What you're calling lucky, is normal. Reading is important. Your experience is very important. I just wish, that more of my fellow countrymen would know English good enough to be able to read about this kind of normal experience, and know, what they should strive for. Every time I write on fb about normal libraries and bookstores, I get into a fight with a local book publisher, who thinks, that we're already good enough, when in fact we're at least 50 years behind. =)

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    3. Your words actually made me tear up a little bit. I agree that reading should be normal, that everyone should have access to all the books they'd ever want and the ability to read them! Sadly that's not the case - even where the books are available there's a startling number of people who either can't read them or don't. Do you read mostly in English or are you a multi-lingual reader? Can I ask where you are? (You totally don't have to answer if you don't want, I'm just curious!)

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    4. I'm from Ukraine. I read in English, Russian and Ukrainian. The language mostly depends on what's available, but if the original book was in English, than I'll try to read it in English (if I'm not lazy), because translations are often bad quality or inaccurate. And it's more fun, if I can recognize the original quotes. And Russian is a bit easier than Ukrainian, especially since a lot of Ukrainian translators and authors overuse dialectisms and archaisms.

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    5. Wow! I wish I could read in more languages - I have enough French to read kids books, and I can stumble along a bit in Spanish, but I'm not fluent in any languages other than English. I'm always curious when I read a translation how accurate it is, and how much is lost because there just isn't an exact translation for everything. Your English is fantastic, btw!

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  2. For a long time, I didn't use the library for the same reason, but I started specifically placing what I wanted on hold and always made sure I had more books waiting - it gave me a good reason to get back to the library (I had to pick up my other books!). Excited to hear you've rediscovered your library and can't wait to hear what you'll find.

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    1. That is an excellent idea. I have always overdone it at the library. I never get through even half of what I take out, though I mean to. I do like the ebook lending system, but it's a little frustrating that I can't get them to download to my e-reader and to read on my phone I have to use the library service's app, which doesn't dim very well for night-time reading... but anyway. Still excellent. I picked up a few book club reads, and downloaded a few newer ebooks I've been curious about, but not curious enough to buy. We'll see if I actually find time to get to ANY of them!!

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  3. I LOVE my library! I go all the time! I love saving lots of money on books, and I also love that there is no pressure to read something I don't like because I've spent money on it! I also don't stress if I don't get a book read in time - I'll just check it out a different time. My library does do e-books, but I am still a print lover so that's what I usually do! Glad you enjoyed your visit!

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    1. Exactly! I do struggle with borrower's guilt - I feel bad when I borrow books and don't read them because I feel like I've taken up someone else's turn with a book. But I suppose lots of people are the same way, and if I get mostly older books I don't have to feel as bad because they're not in such high demand. I love print as well, but I can't argue with the convenience of downloading and returning e-books, that's for sure!

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  4. Yessss I'm obsessed with the library. Going there always makes my day better. Because I don't really like ebooks, I generally go for physical copies. I request books 1-2 months before they come out, so I can get them before anybody else!

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    1. Definitely. I even used to love exploring my college and university libraries - they had such specific enclaves of knowledge that you just wouldn't find in a public library. It made me wish for several more lifetimes so that I could absorb all those words and learn that much about the world. You know? There's just never enough time for all the combined knowledge amassed by the human race.

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  5. First of all, good luck with your wisdom teeth! All four of my wisdom teeth are impacted and I need them all taken out. I do NOT look forward to it and I think I'm holding off until the summer. Maybe we can get them out at the same time and be Twitter buddies or something while we're recovering. Haha!

    As for libraries, I love them. I don't physically visit the library very often but my husband works right down the street from one so he brings books home for me. I do use the ebook feature though, which is great. Libraries are such a good resource. People who can't afford to buy books or have internet of their own NEED libraries to have full lives, I think. I've always loved libraries and I wish I'd gotten a library sciences degree instead of graphic design.

    Cayt @ Vicarious Caytastrophe

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    1. Oh, you poor thing! I'm still hoping (probably in vain) that there's a way around getting mine out. I've got an apt. next week to talk to the specialist and see what he says. UGH.

      I completely agree on libraries being vital resources for those who don't have the money to buy books. Even for those who do, I always find that going to the library exposes me to books I wouldn't otherwise have found, either because I stumble across them or because I get talking to the librarians and they make excellent recommendations. So I think the librarians are as vital a resource as the books themselves. I've thought about a library sciences degree, but I feel like these days there's a lot of competition for a dwindling number of positions, and I worry that i wouldn't be able to make it as a librarian. It's the dream, though, for sure!

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  6. I don't go to the library because in Brazil (or at least where I live) we doesn't have this habit. Plus, the library (yeah, a single one for a 700k hab. city) doesn't have much to borrow. At least, a couple years ago I tried to search on their online book list for 'sherlock holmes' and got 0 results... ZERO.
    And both digital books and comic books at the library (a reality on USA and Canada) are just a distant dream here... =/

    Thiago - Doctor Corgi

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    1. I am so spoiled having always lived not only within easy reach of a library, but being able to find pretty much anything I want because of inter-library loan. It's something I know not everyone has, and that I've always been very grateful for. I'm amazed that there is a singe library for such a large area and number of people - and that it doesn't have something as established as Holmes! Where I live, there are at least three libraries that I could easily get to in an hour or less, and they all have a large selection. It also makes me sad to think that the communities who most need access to a lending library are the least likely to have that access. I hope that eventually perhaps e-books will make it easier for people to find the books they want to read (at least a lot of classics are available for free), but, of course, access to those is limited by the need for a computer/tablet and internet connection, so it still doesn't help people who don't have that. I hope that one day you will have a better library system - and thank you for sharing your experience with those of us up north!

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