Support Your Local Library

I went to our local public library today. Actu­ally the entire family went to the library. My wife and I signed up for member­ship mainly so that my sons could start borrow­ing books to read. Jamie is a vora­cious reader even by my stan­dards and there’s no way I could keep him in new books with­out going broke.


It’s been years since I was a library member. As a child I was a regu­lar visi­tor to the library and it was that as much as anything else that fed my love of fantasy and science fiction. But as an teenager and then adult I moved to buying my own books, and more recently I started convert­ing my book collec­tion to ebooks (it’s just so nice to have all those books with me on my phone).

There are good reasons to encour­age the purchase of books, partic­u­larly in the USA where the library system doesn’t pay royal­ties on number of check outs of a book. But I think that libraries are the second most effec­tive method of instill­ing a love of read­ing in chil­dren. The most effec­tive is simply having books every­where in your house.

It was inter­est­ing to go into this library. In many ways it was just like the library I frequented as a child. And that’s not a bad thing. Despite incred­i­ble fund­ing pres­sure, the public library is a hold out against the rampant consumerism of almost any other build­ing you go into.

Beyond the surface famil­iar­ity though there are changes going on. Libraries are redefin­ing them­selves slowly. Their job now is not purely to provide access to books. It’s to provide access to infor­ma­tion. There were several comput­ers avail­able for use; audio books, maga­zines and DVDs could be rented. The format is no longer the point. And while this library hasn’t jumped aboard yet, some libraries are already exper­i­ment­ing with e-book lend­ing.

Even though I’m in a posi­tion where I can buy books pretty much when­ever I wish and I think it’s impor­tant to do so to support less popu­lar authors, I’ve been reminded how impor­tant it is to also support the library system.  And by support I don’t just mean mone­tary, although that is much needed, but also to ensure that their abil­ity to lend books is not eroded by greedy compa­nies.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?