Are you making the most of your local library? Today I want to write something a little different to my usual reviews. See, in the last year or two I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for public libraries. Sure, I’ve been using libraries since I was a kid, but at some point your parents stop taking you and don’t pay your overdue fines anymore…. so there was a gap there where I wasn’t making the most of all the library had on offer. So, for all of you reading I want to share some ways I have discovered the library is more amazing than we realize! I hope these five tips will have you popping in to your local or hunting in your wallet for your library card!
1. Give your wallet a break.
First of all, before all my other points, I need to establish one thing. Libraries are free! Unlike perusing titles at your local bookstore, you don’t have to be worried about the damage the pile of books you leave with will do to your wallet! This means you can try books you don’t want to invest in monetarily, or give up on finishing books without feeling like it’s somehow a waste. Plus, if you prefer owning a copy of books you can always buy a copy later if you love it!
2. Request to put books on hold through the website.
Libraries pretty much all have an online catalog which you can search through. I like to sit down with a list of books (usually sourced from goodreads or instagram or recommendations) and search through the books, ebooks and audiobooks to see what’s there. Some libraries, also have a recommended reads section! Putting a book on hold doesn’t take long and you get an email when it’s ready to pick up or download!
3. Use your phone to borrow ebooks and audiobooks.
Most libraries have an app they use which allows you to download books from your phone. I have used this religiously in the last year while I’ve been moving around a lot. Auckland Libraries in NZ is my home library and it uses the app Overdrive. With internet access, my library card number and this app I can borrow books from anywhere in the world!
4. Buy an e-reader which can read epubs
If you are considering an ereader I can highly recommend that you choose one that is open source, which I think is anything but a kindle. Why? Because, this means that you can borrow e-books from the library and read them on your device! (without buying them… saves so much money… consider the ereader as an investment). I had a kobo for a while but it broke after less than six months so I’m not sure I can recommend it in good conscience. But I much prefer reading on e-ink than a phone screen. It’s great for reading in bed, especially if you get one with a little light! And the books automatically return themselves so you never have to worry about fines!
5. Wander around the library bookshelves
Okay so this one is a little bit obvious, but it’s amazing how peaceful it can be to wander through the shelves of a library, and amazing how many little gems you can stumble across. I love the feeling of running my hand along the rows and rows of books, and the sense of community that comes with the atmosphere of a well used local library. I also like looking at the holds shelf and seeing all the books too popular to be on the main shelf. You can get some good ideas for ones to request! And, while you’re there, keep an eye out for library book sales.
Every so often libraries clear out old books and you can get some great bargains! Anything from children’s books to recipe books or that novel you’ve never gotten around to! I like to pick up a few to put in the back of my classroom for students to read.
At this point I probably have to do a big shout out to Auckland Libraries who have been my main source of borrowed books for the last few years! The library here in my town in the UK is nowhere near as awesome! I also wanted to dedicate this post in some way to my sister, who to this day has a serious phobia of libraries but who joined one at my insistence only to discover she gets fines as easily as ever. Don’t give up S!
Next non-book-review post ideas:
A. Why audio books should be part of your life
B. How to choose the right ereader for you
C: Beka’s Five Favorite Audiobooks
D. Interesting Book Shops Around the World (that I’ve been to)
Which would you like to read? Comment below!