libraries are brilliant

On Libraries

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.

libraries and amazon how to use libraries now

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.

libraries are brilliant

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;

  1. I can read nearly all the books on my Amazon wishlist for free (self-published books aren’t currently available to libraries)
  2. 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.
  3. 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”.
  4. 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?

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  1. Kate

    Yes! I joined Manchester central library earlier this month for this very reason!!! So cool that you can get almost any book transferred on request – and I’m def enjoying reading actual books again instead of on my kindle x

  2. Michelle

    I love reading too, and this surely made me think that I should visit local libraries more! I don’t really have a wishlist for books to read, but maybe I’ll go and see what catches my eye 🙂 it’ll be even more fun!

  3. Alexander Ward

    Great to see libraries recognised Susie, I rediscovered the Manchester Central one recently and have put some time aside to actually go explore and find some new stuff to read. Do love that we have this amazing free resource. May have to go get a new book today now I’ve read this 😉

  4. Katie

    I was so thrilled to discover that London libraries share books last year. I’d been buying big hardback photography books in the past and I came to realise I could have just borrowed them! I’m really loving using a library again and feel better about not splurging lots on Amazon!

  5. Jen Stanbrook

    Love this post Susie. YES! We use our local library a lot. My girls are voracious readers and always have at least 10 books out at a time. They order them in from neighbouring libraries and love making the trip to go and find their ordered book on the special shelf, complete with their name slotted in via a little slip. They love actual books, and like you, will ask for a favourite for their birthday or Christmas, if they find those they love through the library. Long live the local library!!

    1. Susie

      Yes!! Yes to all this! My two are a bit younger than yours so haven’t started ordering books for themselves yet but it’s defo down the road!

  6. Carole King

    Sadly not. I’m ashamed to say it because like you, I was a frequent visitor when I was younger. I didn’t know about the sharing books though. Thanks for letting the secret out. x

  7. gkgirl

    Yes…i have just started back with our local library and love it.
    And as far as a book that i would read and re-read?
    anne of green gables is one that has been a classic re-read for me….
    but if you have not read fall on your knees by anne marie macdonald,
    i totally recommend it.
    i used to work in a bookstore and i would use it as my compass when someone asked me to
    recommend a book.
    if they had read fall on your knees and loved it,
    i could recommend dozens of other books.
    if not…well…then it got tricky.

  8. Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely

    My story is so similar to yours. I spent all of my spare time as a child in the local library … and it’s the same library that I take my boys to now 🙂 If I do buy books, I donate them to the library when I’m down with them, too. Yes. it does save on the clutter. I’m no intellectual, the books I reread are mainly Jilly Cooper ones. You can’t beat Riders 😉

    1. Susie

      HAha! I tried to read that a few years ago but I just wasn’t into it! I prefer spooky stories, horror and sci-fi! It’s great that you donate your books, I hadn’t thought of that, will ask mine xx

  9. Anca

    I love libraries, especially the Liverpool Central Library. I use it often too, last year most of the books I’ve read were borrowed and I’ve read 60 in total. It saved me money and, also, I don’t have to extend my bookshelves (for the moment).

  10. Tamsyn

    Ah I really don’t visit the library enough, I’m putting it on my ‘to do’ list to take the children, thank you so much for the reminder!

  11. Stacey Sheppard

    Absolutely fantastic post. I take my girls to the library all the time. It’s their favourite day out as we get 10 new books to read at home and then go for babycinos in the cafe next door. It’s really expensive to keep buying the kids books so the library is the perfect solution. Plus I don’t have to keep so many at home. A few months ago I decided to get a book out for myself as I love reading and haven’t really done any since having the girls. Sadly though I didn’t have time to read it and didn’t take it back on time and ended up having to pay a fee that was more than the book cost to buy. But as soon as the girls don’t need my full attention every waking moment I’ll definitely be borrowing books for myself too.

    1. Susie

      Thanks so much Stacey and a big OOOPSY regarding your fine. Defo a perfect place for kids, I’m lucky ours is within walking distance so no overdue books here!

  12. Claire Pillarboxblue

    I haven’t been to my local library since my kids were little and used to participate in the summer reading schemes. But you are making me think about it again and I might just pop in next time I’m in town.

  13. Natalie Holden

    If you like libraries you should take a visit to Liverpool Central library! It’s a cool mix of old architecture and modern design. It was just renovated last year and such a cool place to visit.

    The old library space reminds me a bit of Harry Potter! I don’t read books as much as I should. I need to make more time to read but I do prefer reading a real book instead of a digital version. There nothing better than turning the pages of a book!

  14. fionamostyn

    Yes I use the local library a lot with the children. They’ve also got a great collection of interiors books too!

  15. Mary | hellopeagreen

    Gorgeous post and a well timed reminder about losing local services if you don’t use them. I used to bunk off school and hang out in the library. No one every questions a kid in school uniform being in the library was a discovery I made early on, the same was not true of being in the town centre. My local library here in Brighton has a wonderful toddler group and activities all through the holidays, very lucky to have it. (It’s got next to no books in it though!)

  16. Kara

    So funny I joined up online last month and then this went and collected my first book and card.

    I always take the kids and thought why am I not borrowing books.
    So many great things included too xx

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