It’s been almost two weeks since my last discussion post so I figured it was time! This is one that I’ve had on the back burner for quite some time. It’s something that’s brought up quite often and evokes quite a bit of emotion from me. That is – the argument of borrowing VS purchasing books. I’ve seen people literally get ANGRY that people choose to purchase all their books opposed to borrowing from the library. Some people have stated that libraries are dying and it’s rude as book lovers not to support them. Here’s my take on the subject:
PRO’S OF USING THE LIBRARY:
- BOOKS ARE FREE!
Let’s face it, this is probably the best pro in the world. Having the ability to walk in, pick out as many books as your bookworm heart pleases, and walk out without having to spend a single cent (ok well maybe a couple bucks if you brought your last haul back late!). That freedom and having that many books at your fingertips is just so incredible! I’ve probably checked out thousands of books in my life time and can’t imagine what it would have cost to buy them.
- LENGTHY BORROWING TIME
I find the check out times to be quite acceptable. Depending on your reading speed and the amount of books you’ve brought home, 3 weeks is a decent amount of time to make it through those pages. And, fear not! If you aren’t done at the end of that time period you can ask to check it out again! If there are holds on the books you may have to return it, but you yourself can put your name on the list and get it back at a later date.
- THE STAFF
Probably my favourite part of a library! The staff of libraries are always so fantastic! Willing to help, willing to recommend, and so much more. They are our people! One book lover to another. I’ve had some really great conversations with library staff. One of the most memorable was a woman in her 60’s who was just volunteering who I talked to for over a half an hour about how amazing the Lunar Chronicles series (Marissa Meyer) is!
- THE OTHER AVAILABLE RESOURCES
Yes there are books, but that’s not all! Audio books, magazines, movies, TV shows, educational games for kids, printers, scanners, computers – the list goes on! The library offers so many useful free services!
In the summer time there is an event going on almost daily. Most of the events are geared towards children, but I LOVE seeing that! Some of my fondest childhood memories were of the library. And starting my love of reading at such a young age brought me to be the massive (slightly obsessive) bookworm that I am today. They have the most creative ways to entice children to read. They run around trying to find books that will interest every child and they are spot on every time. Not only that, but they have educational programs that teach kids about the environment, science and so much more. They make learning fun and it’s such a beautiful thing to see!
- THE ATMOSPHERE
There’s nothing better than the atmosphere of a library (ok maybe the atmosphere of a book store too). The shelves of books that surround you and the smell of all those pages…… heaven!
- PLACING HOLDS
As I stated above, one of my favourite things about a library is that you can place holds. Don’t see something you’re looking for? No problem! Put your name on a list and it will magically appear shortly!
CON’S OF USING THE LIBRARY
- THE BOOKS YOU WANT AREN’T ALWAYS AVAILABLE
So, I live in a very small town and they can’t carry everything. Not to mention the library here shares books with a few other libraries in neighbouring towns. Due to the size and the fact that books are shared, what I’m looking for is almost always not available. As I stated in the pro above, you can luckily place holds! But it’s a bit of a downer when you walk in with a book in mind and it’s not there. But then again, this also happens in books stores! So it goes both ways. I’m a very impatient person so it’s hard to wait either way!
- LIMITED RESOURCES
Once again, being in a small town, they don’t carry a ton of stuff. The children’s section is huge and amazing, but the YA section is literally one long shelf front and back. That’s it. The audiobook section is one shelf. There isn’t much in certain areas. I’ve seen libraries in bigger cities that make my jaw drop. So many options and there are even sometimes multiple copies. This con is directed mainly to small towns and smaller libraries
- YOU HAVE TO GIVE YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK BACK
Oh the pain!!! You find a book, bring it home, and fall madly in love. You fangirl over it, dream of the world, and the characters become your best friends – then you have to give it back……….. horror! It’s like giving back a piece of your soul, or at least it is for me lol
As you can tell, I’m very pro library. There are so many benefits and it’s a wonderful option. But do I use them all that often? No. If there’s a book that I’m interested in but I’m not sure if I’ll like it then I will borrow from the library. Also, all of the audio books that I listen to come from Overdrive which is a library service.
My own personal preference is to buy my books. I like to actually own a copy so that I can reread at any time. But the biggest reason is so I can see it. I know that sounds weird but it’s what I need to remember the story. I look at all the books on my shelf multiple times a day. I touch the spines or I pick them up and flip through the pages. Having them on my shelf helps me remember what I read. I familiarize myself with the plot and the characters, so the details of the book sticks in my mind longer. If I got it from the library I forget the story quicker.
I love used books! The books I buy don’t need to be brand new. There’s nothing better than finding a book in great condition for less than half the price! Also, if I’ve purchased a book and didn’t like it, I can go to a used book store and trade it for store credit. Makes space on my shelf and decreases the cost at the same time. It’s win win!
Remember when I said that this conversation evokes a lot of emotion in me? Here’s where that comes in. I’ve seen quite a bit of shaming going on for the people that choose to purchase over borrow. That’s not fair! I realize that not everyone can buy books. If you’re young, a student, or just low on spendable money, putting together a haul of 10+ books in a month isn’t possible. There’s nothing wrong with that! It means that you’re taking care of the things that need to be taken care of first which is a responsible and commendable thing. No one should ever shame someone for not being able to buy large amounts of books. If you borrow, or if you have used books then GREAT! You are a book lover and that’s all that matters! Please talk to me and show me Instagram pics of your library books and used books! I want to see them – seriously! You are a book reader and that’s all that matters.
But this is a two way street. No one should be shamed for borrowing as well as no one should be shamed for purchasing. People work hard to buy their books. While some spend their money on clothes, shoes, trips, music, etc, others save and save to build their own library. And that’s what I’m trying to do. Books are what’s most important to me and when ever it’s my birthday or Christmas, or whenever I have a spare few dollars, I spend it on books.
The point I’m trying to make is that it’s all personal preference. Maybe you don’t have the space to store books, maybe you don’t have the money, maybe you like to borrow, and maybe you like ebooks. There’s nothing wrong with any of it. Where and how you get your books does’t effect your worth as a reader. The point is – you’re reading!
Until next time, happy reading!