I am now the biggest advocate on local libraries. Heck, I talk about them at some point now every day to anyone I’m talking to. Friends, family, people online, people I meet on the street – I’m a woman obsessed when it comes to the library. And I think this is bloody great. Local libraries are such an important and useful resource for so many people and I guess I just want to shout out them a little bit more.
My experience with using libraries first came when I was around 6-7 when my mum would take me and my younger sister to the library in our town. I absolutely adored going. I treasured my library card, always checked out as many books as possible and explored so many different genres as a result of having access to them in the library. I stopped going to my local library in my teenage years as I used the smaller library at the high school and then didn’t borrow books at all in my late teens.
I still use the university library now to check out academic books but thanks to next-day delivery with Amazon Prime, my Kindle, the cheap prices of books in supermarkets and being in walking distance of Waterstone’s I began to buy lots and lots and lots of books. This is great as I love supporting authors and writers and having a book for ‘keeps’ but this summer I’ve really enjoyed getting back into the library and having that sense of experimentation with reading again.
Financially I can’t afford to be pouring all of my money into random reads that I don’t even like because I saw someone mention it once on Instagram or books I want to read to learn about something that I’ll only read once, if that. I haven’t stopped buying books completely and I never will but I do love browsing the books on offer in my library. It is such a great service that I had overlooked for so long so I just want to shout about it here, right now. Here’s why you should join your local library.
IT IS FREE
I cannot believe that this incredible service is free. I am bowled over by it. You don’t only get access to physical books – there is internet access, ebooks, online publications, community events, events for children and work spaces. All of this is for free!
I love that with Glasgow Libraries you can borrow from any of the public libraries in the city (including The Mitchell Library) with your own card as it makes your community feel larger and if you ever move to a different part of the city it doesn’t matter – you’re still a member of Glasgow Libraries.
It is super easy to join, either online or in person. You can sign up online and then pop into your local library and show ID and proof of address before being given a card. I always find things like this awkward as I feel like an idiot for stressing over something so simple but the whole process was painless and it is one of the best things I’ve done in 2018.
I truly have my access to the library to thank for my huge love of reading. My parents have always encouraged me to read as they both read a lot themselves but joining the library gave me access to so many new titles and different genres.
Since childhood I’ve always read loads. I’m a fast reader, I love escaping into a world of books and I’ll read pretty much anything. Having a library card again means I can start reading about new topics (such as online businesses etc.) and research things that I have an interest in but I don’t want to buy books about them.
One of the most helpful things I find about borrowing books is you are actually more likely to read them. You are faced with a deadline and once it gets checked back in, you don’t know if you’ll be able to get it right away again if someone picks it up before you. You can renew of course but I like the challenge of being given three weeks to read a book as it encourages me to actually sit down and read it.
This is something I’ve seen floating around Twitter recently when freelancers are discussing the loneliness of working from home. I don’t really ‘freelance’ but if I did do it full time and especially if I lived alone I would really look into working in the library.
Every time I drop in at mine to either borrow or return books there are always lots of people tapping away on keyboards or staring into a notebook in the workspace area. I can’t comment on the community feel but this is a free alternative to working from a café where you literally drink your money away on flat whites.
I haven’t indulged much into the community aspect of my library. It is nice to browse books with other people and get into a little conversation about the titles you have in your hand but there is a lot on offer for those with certain lifestyles.
At my local there is a branch of Macmillan Cancer Support based there which is a superb service for those who need it as well as plenty of children-centred groups and events. Obviously for where I’m at in my life right now this isn’t relevant to me but for a lot of people this seems like a great place to mingle and take your children too.
Public service announcement over. Join your local library people.
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