Over the past few months, another world has reopened for me.
The world of books, and of libraries.
I’ve always been a fan of libraries and we are lucky enough to have one five minutes walk from our home.
The thing is it’s actually the same library I grew up with. It’s barely changed other than a few computers and computerised check-in/check-out system. My library card is from when they first brought in the computerisation of the library system; when the little-stamped cards inside the books became obsolete.
Where I live now is where I spent most of my childhood, and my parents still live here. It was never my intention to move back but it just worked out that way. Perhaps a story for another time as this one is about libraries.
Reading voraciously as a child, I won summer reading competitions, reading books way ahead of my peers. I consumed so many books in our local library that I joined libraries in two neighbouring boroughs, just to have more choice.
I loved, and still love, the feel of a library. The hushed joy found on the bookshelves, the doorways to other worlds just waiting to be opened.
That, of course, is why the internet is so great. It is one big doorway to anything you want (or don’t want) to know.
The internet and Amazon Books have specifically contributed to the downturn in library use. Many have closed.
I feel very lucky that in my area libraries are still seen as an asset. Many of them offer more than books; courses in computer skills, author meet and greet’s, exhibitions and special events.
Last year, as I was rekindling my love for Fiction I ended up with an Amazon wishlist that was as long as both my arms.
So I did something that felt like (still feels like tbh) a bit of a secret, a bit of a trick, even a bit punk.
It’s like I’m getting one over on consumerism.
I logged onto my library’s website, and I searched for all the books I had on my wishlist. Well, I started with ten, but you get the idea.
Turns out if my small village branch didn’t have it, usually the case, then another library locally would have it. And, get this, they would send it to my local library for me to go and collect; FOR FREE.
Allow me to recap and elaborate;
- I can read nearly all the books on my Amazon wishlist for free (self-published books aren’t currently available to libraries)
- I’m supporting my local library by actually using the systems they’ve put in place. Hopefully keeping them in my community for the foreseeable future.
- I’m creating less waste and a lower carbon footprint. Many books just get read once then get left on a shelf, adding to our “stuff”.
- If I do really fall for a book after borrowing it, I will go out and buy it, knowing I’ll read it more than once or look to it for inspiration and ideas. It’ll deserve that place on my shelf.
So my question to you is this, do you use your local library?
If not, then I hope my thoughts on this subject might’ve sparked an interest. Do let me know.
And finally, what books do you LOVE having on your bookshelf, what have you reread and reread?