Saturday, 27 October 2007

Libraries Gave Us Power

library books Originally uploaded by timetrax23

I am a firm believer that local public libraries are Very Important. They enable anyone to access information for free, provide a focal point for the community, and promote literacy, which is a Good Thing. Libraries should be cherished and supported. So there.

As to the last time I actually used our local library? Well..ahem...erm... it was a while back. Sufficiently far that I can't remember. I can make excuses about local libraries not providing sufficiently specialist resources for a post-grad, but the reality is that I like buying books. I like buying them, I like owning them. I even enjoy reading them, although it would be a lie to say that I've read every one that I own.

I was in Waterstones the other day, casting around for something new to read, and was suddenly faced by the rather unappealing prospect of paying £8.99 for a 220 page Penguin Modern Classic. This seemed more than a bit excessive, and the local library, the source of so much enjoyment during my childhood and teens, suddenly came to mind.

So today I made my first trip there for ages, and came away with said 220 page classic, a contemporary novel and a modern history book. All free. No extra consumption, no worries about where I'm going to store them. Should have done it sooner. I hearby resolve to make better use of my local library.

When did you last visit yours?


The Cat said...

And about time too! I use the library for non-academic material, and it is very wonderful.

I was so annoyed that our local branch closed down earlier this year, so I have to travel into town now, which means I don't get so often. But I have had probably a hundred books out in the 6 years we have been here, all of which I have read and enjoyed, but, as you say, don't need to keep!

Custard. said...

I remember giving up on my (then) local library years ago because I'd read all the fiction they had I was interested in.

I actually joined my local library here last week - I was wanting to relax with some fiction and, as you rightly point out, libraries are much cheaper than shops. It's the main library for the county, and I guess there's maybe 40 or 50 fiction books that look worth reading that I haven't read already.

What I don't really get is the non-fiction sections of public libraries. They are usually so shallow (and out of date) on any given topic that a bright 6th former couldn't use them much for a research project, yet they take up so much of the space...

A few copies of the standard first year university textbooks in a couple of dozen subjects would take up less space and be more helpful.

So libraries then. Nice idea, useful at times, often poorly executed.

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