Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Libraries

Do you use your local library? If not, why not?

Some advantages are -

You can borrow books for free. OK, you probably knew that about books already on the shelves, but did you know you can 'suggest a purchase' of any book not in stock? There's no guarantee they'll buy it, but my local library has bought several of the books I suggested. You can also request any book that's in the library system (which includes most of mine). There's usually an admin fee of about 50p for this service.

You can read reference books. You might want to conduct story research or use to Writers' and Artists' Year book to find markets.

You can read or borrow magazines. The selection varies from branch to branch, but there will almost certainly be some which pay for fillers and the choice may include womags.

Authors earn money when their books are borrowed. It's not a huge amount and the books have to be in the right libraries to qualify and there's a cap on how much each can earn. (If you have a book available in libraries, make sure you're registered for ply.)

You can use computers for free. This includes internet access. Some libraries also allow you to print out your work for a small charge - very handy if you can't do that at home for any reason.

You can ask for help and advice. Library staff will, on request, help you find a book to suit you, help with research and assist you using their facilities and services.

There will often be talks and educational courses - including writing courses and meet the author events. Prices are usually very reasonable (I've been to a few free workshops which were excellent.)

You can borrow audiobooks, DVDs, large print, even ebooks in some cases.


The disadvantages are ...

The only one I can think of is that some of our taxes go to pay for libraries (about 6% of council tax goes on 'arts and leisure' library funding is in there somewhere). Personally I think it's great value and as we're paying anyway, we might as well use the service.

Have you voted in my poll? (up there on the right) Can you think of any other advantages of libraries, or any disadvantages?

19 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hate to say it, I haven't used it in years. It's not in a great part of town and most of what they have I can find online. Or if it's a book I want to read, I just buy it.

Maggie May said...

I use our library all the time. Our writing group meets there free of charge! My reading group meets there too. We can log on to wi-fi, request books, use their computers and loan CDs as well as books. It’s a meeting place for many other groups including young mums for story time. Big bonus is that there is a cafe/restaurant within the county building which is subsidised, providing simple home cooked meals for anyone, not just the office workers that work there. We would be lost without it.

Lindsay said...

I have been a huge library user but in the past year my local library was closed for 4 months for redevelopment: ie: being made much smaller with a much poorer selection of books and very limited opening time unless you have a code to access it when there is no librarian/volunteer on site. So although I consider myself a library user, I don't use it so much now because of the poor stock. There used to be a thriving reading group which I led for some time but that too has dwindled as the borough stocks only a limited selection of books in sufficient numbers for groups. So sad - I'm very angry about it but our Tory council has no interest in funding anything which will benefit the community.

Donna K. Weaver said...

We have an incredible library. They have a great collection, not just of paper books but of audiobooks, music, and movies. They host hundreds of different events every year and are a gathering place for groups--writers, crafters, etc. They have programs for kids to learn how to play chess or code. They have classes where people can learn to search their family trees. They have the largest storytelling collection in the US. They also bring in special speakers through grants.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy - I have used the library on occasions and get books occasionally ... but I prefer to have the book to read and not worry about deadlines etc ... I've been to talks there - and our library has a theatre/art gallery etc as part of it - charitably run ... I'd love to do more - in fact I think I'd like to work in a library ... but for now - that will need to wait - cheers Hilary

Michele Clack said...

Use the library all the time as well as buying lots of books

Frances Garrood said...

I love our local library. It's the best value for money that our council provides. And since we've bought far too many books in the past, it saves space as we have to take the books back! Brilliant.

Lisa Macgregor said...

I used to use the library all the time but once I bought a laptop and discovered Google there didn't seem much point going anymore. Plus since we moved, our new library is in the centre of town and I'd have to drive and then pay for parking to visit. I can do all my research on line and I download books I want to read on kindle. I did take my three year old son to the children's section of our library but all he wanted to do was jump on the beanie chairs! So I'm sorry to say we're not library users anymore...

Jenny Worstall said...

My local library gives me free access to zinio - lots of magazines there ranging from New Scientist to Woman's Weekly and everything in between!

Anonymous said...

I have been invited to run a series of Writing for Wellbeing sessions in January. Libraries are open to new concepts.

klahanie said...

I use my local library every so often. Should probably visit it more often before this idiotic government of ours shuts it down!

Gary

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Patsy! I enjoyed your post. I had no idea that author's could receive money for their books being read in a library. I haven't used my library lately. I tend to buy the books I want to read, and I do a lot of research on line. I should get back to it.

Julia Thorley said...

With our council threatening to close our libraries at the moment, I'm very keen to spread the word about how valuable they are in the community.

JohnD said...

Public libraries are as important for our wellbeing as the NHS. It is a mark of a truly civilised, tolerant and democratic society that offers all forms of publication free of charge to all and anyone wishing to use them. This government is putting so much pressure on local authorities to save money without taking into account what that might cost. They seem to have forgotten that public services are just that; they should not be run like businesses whereby if they're not making a profit close them. We need to cherish and fight for our libraries.

liz young said...

One of the first things we did on our return to England was to join the library. Our local one is tiny but it's a peaceful lace to work - except when the Yummy Mummies let their little darling run riot while they chat loudly.

Penny A said...

When we moved to Somerset not so long ago the lovely library was a great way to get to know the place and people. In addition to several similar activities already mentioned elsewhere on the blog we also have Come Together Sunday once in a while... food, banjo playing, the Town Band, plus the chance for every group to do a little promotion. Not exactly All Quiet on the Library Front, but fun anyway and it seems to work!

Pamela Beverly said...

Hi Fundy. I don't think that you get paid if you donate your published works to a library. I don't get paid and I can see when people check them out.

Pamela Beverly said...

They have renovated several of the libraries here in Maryland in the U.S., expanding some of them. It's nice, especially for folks that can't afford to purchase books or might not have a computer or wireless and wants to look for jobs online. They also have a lot of programs for children.

Patsy said...

Re the PLR payments for books read in libraries - this is a British and Irish thing. I'd asumed there was a similar system operated in other countries, but could be wrong about that.

In the UK, sample libraries are used. It's possible that if an author's books are in just one or two libraries, these won't be sample ones and therefore no money will be paid out. Some of the sample libraries are changed each year.