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!
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!
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.