5 Things I Love About the Library

Posted 7 February, 2014 by Amanda / 40 Comments


Growing up, I spent a lot of time browsing the library shelves. Or rather, shelf. The tiny county library branch tucked into a strip mall boasted one whole YA shelf. But that never stopped me from checking out books. And later, when the library branch moved into a larger building, I’d moved onto romance and mystery books, which had entire SECTIONS.

Some time between college and book blogging, I forgot about the library. Book blogging, especially if you stay caught up in the new releases and latest hot titles, makes it easier to forget about the library because it’s all about buying books.

But that’s expensive. And like many, I can’t afford to buy every book I want. (Woe.) For the past year, I’ve been on a book buying ban: only buying books with gift cards I’ve received or on my birthday. (If I can’t buy myself a book on my birthday, what’s the point of having a birthday?) It was a brilliant plan because I could still get books and I was more likely to read the books I already owned.

Then the Great Historical Romance Bender of 2013 began.

I don’t own many (if any) historical romances. So in order to feed my need, I made the trek back to the library. And it was GLORIOUS. I rediscovered the awesomeness of the library and it’s time we celebrate it. Here’s what I love about the library.

1. It’s a building filled with books I can check out for free

What’s not to love?

2. I feel better about trying new books and not liking them

If I try a new book/author/series/genre and don’t like it, no harm done. I simply return the book to the library where hopefully someone who does like the book will get a chance to read it. I haven’t “wasted” any of my money on a book I don’t like. No DNF guilt.

3. I can binge on books

Great Historical Romance Bender of 2013 wouldn’t have happened without the library. I can check out an entire series or author and read STRAIGHT THROUGH. Again. And again. And as many times as I want.

4. It forces me to read

Books you buy don’t have check out limit. Nor do they have any kind of penalty if you hold onto them too long. So those library books? I read them. Otherwise I’ve wasted my time going to get them and somehow that bothers me more than buying books I don’t read.

5. The books come to me (aka I’m a request monster)

I’ve turned into a request monster. Sometimes I do it because the only book available is at a different branch, but sometimes I do it because I want the book and want to make sure no one grabs it before I get to the library. And nothing goes faster than running into the library, grabbing the books waiting for me, checking them out, and going to home to read them.

Plus, I can still request new releases. I don’t get to read them on release day, but I’m okay with that. I still get to read the latest books (Shadowdance and No Good Duke, I’m looking at you) when they come out.

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40 Responses to “5 Things I Love About the Library”

  1. I totally agree with you, the library is the way to go! Although I do love owning a lot of books it’s just waay too expensive :( At my local library we can now rent eBooks as well which is amazing!

  2. I’m an electronic & audio library junkie. The time limit makes me get on them…which isn’t very guilty, because I wanted them enough to request. It’s kind of like when someone puts cake in from of you.

  3. “If I can’t buy myself a book on my birthday, what’s the point of having a birthday?”

    AGREED! I’m the same way, though I haven’t really been sticking to my ban because I lack discipline. Admitting you have a problem is the first step though right? Right:) I have totally forgotten about the library as well, and it’s about 3 feet from my house. I really should pop over there and see what their romance section has in store for me!

    I hope you continue the Great Historical Romance Bender of 2013. Or the Great Historical Romance Blender of 2013. Whichever:)

    • No one wants a birthday if books aren’t involved. I mean, really.

      I’ve fallen off the Great Historical Romance Blender of 2013, but I have a feeling Tessa Dare’s new book may change that whenever I get to it. I’ve been distracted by the new releases I got to buy with a gift card. (Though I finished Cress last night and the distraction was totally worth it.)

  4. I LOVE the library for many, many reasons. I am a librarian, though, so I’m a little biased.

    I love the library for all the reasons you listed above. I also love the library because it lets me browse backlist items. Bookstores are so focused on what’s new, which is definitely great. But I don’t want to overlook older books.

    Also, I love that the library is for EVERYONE. It doesn’t matter how much money someone has, or what their beliefs are, or what ethnicity. Sometimes that means that some people who are a little out there come into the library, but I still love it.

    • You’re allowed to be biased. Definitely.

      Oh, yes! Backlist items. I think that’s something easy to forget about in book blogging, too, unless you hit on a new-to-you author who’s been writing for a while. I’m a big fan of older books, myself.

      And yes, Quinn! The library really is for everyone. And diversity is amazing.

      • I ask my library to buy lots of books that they are probably going to buy anyway (e.g., Landline, Cibola Burn, and Words of Radiance), so I get put on the hold list (and usually number 1). I have had luck with my library getting the book to me on publication day. My budget is tight, so I can’t buy a lot of books, but I don’t want to wait longer than I have to get my anticipated reads! :)

  5. FRICK YAH! So Yes, it totally does force you to read! And you’re right you feel more inclined to try things since you don’t have to pay for them. I’m sad when a book isn’t carried by my library. So then I hunt my used book store and then just buy it if not there – or I skip the used store if I’m feeling lazy cause you know they don’t have an online catalog its a maddddd house in there!

    I have to say though sometimes I don’t Want to give the book back – in those cases buying my own copy is completely necessary. I’m using my library currently mostly for audio books but I do like that they have a ebook option more and more now.

    I’m also weird in that I’m probably going to purchase a library account at an outside state than my own because my library is a bit weak =(. At least they get my donated blogger books.

    • Nothing wrong with buying your own copy—it’s a great way to support the author, I think.

      You’re not weird. I want to live in a different county (i.e., the one with Minneapolis in it) so I can have access to all their books. 41 branch locations!

  6. I love my library. It’s part of the County library, which means I actually have access to books in 50+ libraries. I mostly get ebooks from the library but I also get print books from time to time as well.

    • Nice! I’m in a county library system too, and it’s hugely beneficial to have access to so many different branches—without having to travel all over.

  7. The money thing is HUGE for me. I just can’t justify spending it on everything I want to read. Plus it’s great for impulse borrowing. I’m in the mood to read and don’t have anything ready to go…what’s available to download? More often that not it’s a two or three star “meh” but that’s certainly not a horrible thing. Didn’t cost me anything and you never know what you might really like.

    • Exactly! The library is a great way to satisfy that “must read now” urge, but also give you the freedom to try out new books (or authors/series/genres) you wouldn’t want to buy. Good stuff.

      And sometimes I think you need the meh books to appreciate the really good. ;)

      • Oh yeah I think the whole ‘three star review’ concern thing is pretty silly (although that’s more of a different conversation than your original post). You’re not supposed to LOVE every book you read, otherwise nothing is really special.

        • I always think it’s really weird when I have a stretch of awesome books. Though having a stretch of meh books isn’t quite as fun.

  8. Yay for the library! I love going there, and you’re right it’s great place to try out books without feeling guilty or using up money. Mine also rents out eBooks that I can get while at home, so that’s even better. :)

  9. Great point about actually reading all the books, I find I read everything I borrow more than the ones I buy. I have tons sitting on my shelves that I know I will read one day, but library books always get read for exactly the reasons you listed above. Great post!

  10. I LOVE the library! I’m always looking for a deal when buying anything, even books, so what’s better than FREE? And I agree with the no guilt part either. If I didn’t like something, oh well, at least it was a library book, right?

    It’s interesting that you mention the forcing you to read bit. I find that I’m much more motivated to read library book too–because of the deadline. I have books on my shelf that I’m really excited about, but I seem to be able to talk myself out of reading them sometimes? I’m trying to work on making a dent on my overflowing bookcase by making myself read one owned book in between my library reads. (It’s not going terribly well so far, oops!)

  11. Piarvé

    Completely agreed, I’ve spent the first two months of 2014 book binging (my poor debit card) and the book buying ban has begun meaning anything I want to read from now on must come from the library. Sometimes the feel of the library is forgotten about, I love the fact I can just walk, pick up all sorts of books, try a few of them then take the top five (depending how much room my card has) home. Then if I love a book sooo much or feel the need of a copy then I allow myself to buy just the one.

    • It is really easy to forget about the library, but so so important if you’re watching how much you spend. (Or alternatively, watching how little space you have on your book shelf.)

  12. This is my entire life. Anytime I set foot in my library, it’s to pick up things from the hold shelf. I’ve already gone online and requested all of my books ahead of time. It’s so nice to get there and find them waiting for me. I’m also pretty sure the librarians think I do nothing but read because I’m in there ALL THE TIME picking up books.

  13. Hooray for library love! I’ve been a HUGE library fan my entire life. In the last 15 years of my life, I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than 2 weeks at a time without visiting the library. I’m a request monster, too! A habit I formed during my teen years when my mom was big on the swing-by-the-library-you-have-30-seconds-I-mean-it approach.

    I don’t suffer from guilt for returning books unread, though (most of the time), since the only way I could read as many as I check out would be if I were unemployed and bed-bound with no access to the internet or television, haha.

    • Ha. I try to keep the number of books I check out to a manageable level, but there have been a few I’ve returned to the library unread—and not felt too guilty about it, because I can always pick it up again later.

  14. I haven’t forgotten about the library because I am in the library almost every day! Being a broke graduate student, I can’t afford to go out and buy the latest titles. Sure, the wait time for books may be a little long, but when I am reading (and blogging) I go for books that interest me and not the “hot titles”. Now those books may be a part of the “hot titles” ,but I am a pretty patient person so I can wait three months for a book. YAY, LIBRARIES!

    • Ha. If I could be at the library every day, I wouldn’t forget about it either! (Though I do a pretty good job of forgetting the books in my personal library at home.) I don’t really mind waiting for books either. As long as I get it—that’s what counts. ;)

  15. I love the library!! For me, it comes in really helpful when I get a review book of a series I’ve not read yet. If I’m interested enough in the book, I’ll get the backlist from the library. I like getting ebooks better, but actual books work too. :) Glad you’re binging on library books!

  16. I used to live right across the street from the library and I miss it soooo much! I would request books first(so no one would get them) like you mentioned. I also miss checking out whole series of books at a time.

    Books I gravitated to in the library were paranormal and YA. Historical will always be a close favorite of mine though.

    I literally visited the library daily. I think I will find the closest to me now that we are settlef in our new place.

    Great post by the way!

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