Aren’t libraries brilliant?!

I know this is not news, but they just are, aren’t they? I’ve finally got into the habit of checking my library online before buying a book and I’m amazed at how often one of the branches has the book in stock. And then I can reserve it (for 25p) and have it delivered to my local branch (which is very handy and the staff are lovely and my boys love it there). Just wonderful. No?

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19 thoughts on “Aren’t libraries brilliant?!

  1. As a bookshop manager, no they’re not.

    As a reader/father of a reader, they’re brilliant! Joseph is well known at our local one!

    1. Ah, but Craig, they encourage reading and that can only be good for bookshops, no?

      Same theory for me as an author who’d rather people bought my books, obviously, but if they get the first one from the library and love it, maybe they’ll buy the next one.

  2. I agree, they are brilliant! I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t made much use of my village library. I think it’s partly because it’s only open 2 days a week for a few hours, and also because I resent having to pay to reserve a book. Back home (I’m an expat American), I frequently borrowed books from the library and the only fee you ever had to pay was for overdue books or other media.

    1. Kennie, I’m not that thrilled about the 25p either, to be honest, but they do transport it from another library and then phone me to tell me they’ve got it and 25p is a lot cheaper than buying it would be. The late fees, however, are horrendous: 15p per book per day! I have to make sure I keep on top of my loans. Have had £15 fine before now. Ouch.

  3. Hey, Keris! That’s a rip off, having to pay for reservations. We used to be charged 50p here in Sheffield but now it is completely free and we can order any book Sheffield libraries has, branch does not matter, for collection at our local. It isn’t much to pay I know but what if you reserve tons of books? (Like me.) I think libraries throughout the country should all have the same rules and regs. Apart from that, I have to agree, I have long marvelled at the wonder of libraries. They don’t all have really cute little boys such as the ones in your photo, though. And I think that is just such a darned shame.

    1. They’re run by the local authorities, aren’t they? Hence the different rules. I don’t mind. I reserve loads too, but it’s still a lot cheaper than buying the books and I have the convenience of picking them up on the school run too.

      That is a shame about the cute boys, though. You should complain 😉

  4. I’ve always been a very heavy user of libraries and still remember the heady thrill of getting my very own library ticket when I reached the minimum age of seven. I’ve still got the photo my Dad took of me sitting on my swing clutching the Secret Seven book I chose.

    Leeds Libraries are truly superb. Yes, we pay reservation fees of 90p per book [and I too reserve lots of them] but they run 53 libraries in the city so the admin and transport costs are significant. We have extended opening hours until 8pm some evenings, free internet access, book groups, fantastic staff, local history facilities, fax machines, newspapers, venues for local groups, support for local schools, e-books to download online, 24-hour access to the catalogue online and on the phone – need I continue?

    They are a true centre of the community at a time when such facilities are rapidly disappearing. Leeds is having to re-evalue how many of its branches it can keep open at the moment and I am actively campaigning to support them.

    One of my ambitions for my two children was for them to experience the amazing world of books and Pudsey Library has been an invaluable tool on that journey. If I could post the photo of them engrossed in their books in the children’s library aged about 7 and 3 here, I would!

    1. That’s fantastic, Wendy. Thanks for such a great comment.

      Our lovely little library may be at risk too (it’s in “consultation” at the moment, apparently) and I’ve already told them I’ll campaign if they’re threatened with closure. Such an important part of the community.

  5. Love that pic of Joe- those wee feet!

    I haven’t been to the library here in the Village of the Damned. Apart from the lack of English novels, the opening hours are something like between the hours of 6 & 7am and 9:17 & 10:04am on days of the month divisible by 4, depending on the full moon. PM openings entirely dependent on the mood of the librarian and/or the corn crop.

    1. That’s so weird! Jenny Colgan tweeted the opening hours of her local French library once and they were completely barmy too. Wonder why.

  6. I fully agree….I too have started checking library first and I got the new Stephen Fry biography only a week after it came out!!! Since my pay packet is now at maternity pay level this is invaluable!!!

  7. Never mind borrowing books, I want to borrow that cute little bundle of cuddle-filled sweetness that is sitting on the chair.

    Keris, your boys are so adorable!!

  8. I agree with Rebecca. Can you put a fortnight stamp on him for me after she’s finished with him please? Look at his little hand – an absolute blurr as he speeds though that book (which one is he reading?)
    Aw bless…..
    *cough* libraries I mean. Bless ’em all.

    1. Haha! I’ll send him off on tour. 🙂

      The book was a touchy feely farm book. He was obsessed with it while we were there, brought it home and he never looked at it again!

  9. Yep you can reserve for free at ours, but the staff aren’t friendly at the local branch (we stopped going, they were so unpleasant) and they have about 25% of what I want, and very long waiting times for popular stuff. Oh, and they don’t let you know when stuff’s come in, you have to keep checking online. But all of that means that when you do get a great book to read for free, it feels like a triumph!

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a library that charged to reserve! But yes that is much better than buying. I’ve never had a lot of extra money myself so I’ve been checking the library system every time I want a book for a while now. I don’t know how it is where you live but our ILL system is state-wide so I can get any book in the state pretty much.

  11. Our library is great although they charged £1 to get a book in for Paul. I must admit I hadn’t used the library for years (until I had Jake) and couldn’t believe how good the selection was.
    Jake loves choosing books and singing there too on a Friday.

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