Do you visit a library regularly? I do. I’m lucky in that I have a fantastic library just ten minutes’ walk from where I live. In fact, after having visited numerous libraries throughout London while researching The Forest King’s Daughter, I’m convinced that my library is the best.
I visit every week–sometimes twice a week–to pick up books, music, dvds and also to print when my printer refuses to be of any use. As a writer I find the resources my local library provides to be invaluable. Not only can I search their online catalogue and reserve items (for free!) but I can also use the space provided by the library as a free study/writing space—no overpriced lattes required (however, if they began offering them I wouldn’t object 🙂 ).
I’ve used their materials to help me research stories as well as to assist me when doing practical things like attempting to fix the bathroom sink and applying for graduate school, as well as for not so practical things, like trying to bake a special cake.
Of course, a lot of this information can now be found online, but I like the idea of going somewhere to discover, to explore, because sometimes sitting at your computer can get a little dull.
Recently I’ve taken out several books on Native American history and culture as part of my research for my next novel. The fact that I can get the books for free allows me to sample them in a way I couldn’t afford to if I had to pay for them all. It means I can try out books before purchasing them, if indeed I decide purchasing them is necessary. I can also take out music which is related to the subject I’m writing about, painting and photography books, all of which help me to create and build the world I aim to depict, to immerse myself in the story.
The library also allows me to dabble in other subjects I might not be able to afford to otherwise, like poetry. Recently I’ve been exploring the work of Seamus Heaney and Benjamin Zephaniah, amongst others. And when someone recommends a book, I can try it out before buying. The fact that there are so many free books available at the library gives me opportunities I would not otherwise have as I can’t afford to buy books every month, and books bring me such a lot of enjoyment. 🙂
Some people can afford to do some ‘retail therapy’ when they’ve had a bad day. I go for the ‘library therapy’ option. Bad day? Go take out a new novel, or how about a dvd to take your mind off it? Okay, I know a lot of people have everything at their fingertips through their computers now, but you still have to pay for films that you watch online, and music you download from iTunes, but at the library it’s free! And guess what, they also loan free e-books! So you don’t even have to visit to enjoy what they have to offer.
But I still like to, because I get tired of everything happening through my computer screen, a phone or some other electronic device. Sometimes it’s just nice to go where there are books, and people. You know, the kind with arms and legs who walk places?
How about you? Do you use a library regularly? If so, what is your experience of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below.
Until next time!
6 thoughts on “Libraries”
Great post! Coincidentally, I just went to the library this morning to return books, then decided to look up some children’s books to read, as I’m still working on my own novel and want to get a better feel for writing for a younger audience. As you say, I can do this without having to go out and buy more books. And whenever I have the urge to learn about something new (like origami or reiki), I can just hop over to the library and read about it, then decide if I want to buy books to learn more about it. Yes, I love the library! 🙂
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Hi Louisa, That’s great! I’m glad you enjoyed the experience and were able to dip into more books than usual as a result. I bet the origami books were fun too 😉 Thanks for your comment! :–)
Hi Kendra, yes, I also love libraries for all the reasons you mention. I’ve been going to my local library on and off for over 50 years, which doesn’t seem possible! Here in Edinburgh you can also get your bus pass at the library (if you are an older person), buy food waste recyclable bags, go on a course to learn how to use a computer, get help filling out forms and heaps of other things, apart from author talks and research and reading – once we even had some opera 🙂 I think of libraries as safe heavens and love them 🙂
Hi Marianne, That’s a long time! It’s wonderful that we have such good libraries to visit, I think. It’s great that your library provides so many different services to its users. I can imagine the opera was interesting to hear too. Thanks for your comment 🙂
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Great post… I just looked up my library website to see about e-books. I like library’s they are nice quiet places to go read or look about. And try-out new books that you wouldn’t normal read. I think sometime reading things that you may not normally go for, also helps broaden your reading world. I didn’t visit them as often as I like to these days. But still think a library is a great place to visit.
Hi Katie, I hope you enjoy it and find some great e-books. I agree, as writers we should try to read widely and a lot. Thanks for your comment! 🙂