Why the Library is an Invaluable Resource for a Book Blogger

I’ve been wanting to do another discussion post for a while now but couldn’t decide what to write about.  This post is inspired by a recent trip to my local library.  I went there last Sunday afternoon, actually arrived a few minutes before it was scheduled to open thinking I could easily slip in, grab a couple of books, and slip back out.  I was shocked when I got there to actually see a long line of people waiting to get in.  As the doors opened, I waited to see if there was a special event going on that had drawn the big crowd. But no, as the doors opened, people quickly filed in and the crowd dispersed, each person going their own way.  It hit me then just how important libraries still are in our communities, which of course got me thinking about just how much I use it in my day-to-day life and especially that I blog about books so much.

Even before I became a book blogger, I was always a fan of my local library.  I mean, hello, free books at your fingertips? How could a book lover not be all over that, right?  Once I got into blogging though was when I really began to appreciate all that the library has to offer and how useful it could really be for me.  Here are just a few of the features my local library offers that have been lifesavers when it comes to my blog.

  1. The Convenience. My favorite library feature is the online card catalog database.  I can sit at home on my own computer or device, log into my account, access the library’s database and see what books are available. Not only that, but using the same online system, I can also place holds on the books that I want and they’ll reserve them for me or order them from other branches of the regional library if they don’t have them in hand.  When my books are ready, I receive an email notification telling me that they’re waiting for me at the local branch. It couldn’t be much easier.

 

  1. The Selection. ARCS are, of course, ideal for reviewing on my blog since I can get those  early and they’re free. But let’s face it…odds are I’m not going to get every ARC I request and even if I did, would I realistically be able to read them all before the publication dates anyway?  The answer for me is a resounding no.  I get approved for just enough ARCs to keep me busy meeting their deadlines but still have tons of new releases on my wishlist that I’d love to get my hands on to review. Just thinking about how much it would cost to pre-order them all makes me cringe and if I’m probably not going to get to them before the publication date anyway, why not check out the library and see if I can get them that way?  At first I scoffed at the idea of using the library for books I want to review on my blog.  I figured I’d have to wait forever to get a new book or that the selection just wouldn’t be that great for the newest releases.  I was so completely wrong on this.  Not only is the selection way better than I ever could have imagined, but in many cases, I can place holds on books that haven’t even come out yet.  I remember placing a hold on The Hate U Give weeks before it came out and I think I had the book in hand within a couple of weeks after the publication date. If I had had to wait months and months to get my hands on the new release, it wouldn’t have been a practical choice, but I think a couple of weeks is perfectly acceptable.

 

  1. The Flexibility. Another favorite feature of my library is that I can access my hold list and make adjustments to it as needed.  If it looks like a bunch of books are about to be coming my way but I’m not ready for them because I have ARCs to read or whatever, there is a ‘Pause’ feature that I can use to basically push myself a little further down the reserve list on the books in question.  That way someone else can go ahead and read what I’m not ready for, but I don’t completely lose my place in line.  This is an invaluable feature for me as a blogger. Just because I’m not ready this week doesn’t mean I won’t be ready soon so I don’t want to have to move all the way to the bottom of the list.

 

  1. The Savings. The fact that I can do all of this without spending any money aside from the occasional library fine, which is pennies compared to how much money I could potentially spend on books, is perfect for me.  I can’t really say that I have a book buying budget or anything like that, but there are definitely a lot of books out there that I want to read and review for my blog but don’t necessarily want a copy of it for my collection.  This way I can get all of the books that I want/need for the blog, but am not forking out $10-15 a pop every time a book I want comes out.  Also, if I do end up wanting it for my personal collection, I’ve already reviewed it for the blog so I can wait and purchase it for myself once the price has dropped a bit.

 

  1. The Ability to Experiment. Don’t know if you like audiobooks or e-books but would love to find out? You can try them out for free at the library.  My local library has an ever-growing collection of both formats too so again, the selection is pretty great.  My library has audiobooks, both in the old CD format and in formats that you can download straight to your electronic devices.  And just like with the physical copies of books, you can place holds on the e-books and audiobooks through the online database and receive notifications when the titles can be downloaded.

* * * * *

The library has really been an invaluable resource for me since I started blogging. I can’t even begin to fathom how much money and time it has saved me over the past year.  If you haven’t checked out your local library recently, I’d definitely say it’s worth a trip!

Do you use your local library as a resource for your book blog?  If so, do you find it useful?

 

 

24 replies
  1. Angela
    Angela says:

    What a great post! I love my local library – I’m there practically every week, the librarians recognize me and start pulling my holds off the shelf as soon as I walk in! My hold list is basically my best friend. I usually browse the new releases each time I go in, but I love that they will gather up my reserves for me and I can just grab them and go if I need to. I rarely have ARCs, so I also like being able to place a hold on an upcoming release and I can get it as soon as it comes out.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Ha, I love that they recognize you. 🙂 I go pretty much every week too and if I can’t go in person, I’m definitely logging into the online database every week to see what new releases they’ve gotten in and what they’re expecting in soon.

      Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Thanks! The digital access is amazing. I love being able to log on anytime day or night to see what’s available and even check it out right then.

      Reply
  2. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:

    Oh my goodness, I pretty much squealed through this post! I go to my library normally at least once a week, always have a couple of books on reserve etc. I wish mine had a pause feature as sometimes I’m not ready for the book if they come in quicker than I thought they would, but what a fantastic way of trying out new things. I don’t understand people who like reading and don’t use their library!

    Thank you for such an insightful and fun post – definitely one that I can relate to!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Thanks, I’m really glad you enjoyed it! Yes, that pause feature has become one of my favorite things about using our library system since the books do tend to become available a little too soon sometimes.

      Reply
  3. Bookworm
    Bookworm says:

    Yes yes and yes. I love my local library for the reasons you listed here. I also borrow and download ebooks and audiobooks onto my Nook from my library. The audiobooks especially are so great because I will listen at night mainly before bed and it’s so relaxing.
    Enjoy your weekend and great post 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me to listen to audiobooks right before bed. I keep trying to listen to them at work and end up distracted, missing huge parts of the book and having to backtrack. I kind of gave up on them after that. Bedtime sounds like a much better way to do it. Hmmm, I think it’s time to revisit the audiobook selection at my library 🙂

      Reply
  4. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    I went to school for library science, essentially making me a librarian, so yes, I’m all about libraries! I don’t make it to my public library AS much now that I’m not working there anymore but I still use their e-books to read and review books, so that counts. I also love all the fun events they put on and that I don’t have to pay for them.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Oh gosh, yes. I didn’t even talk about all of the great events they put on for free. My local library also uses art from local artists as decoration. There’s information with each piece they have displayed for anyone interested in purchasing the art. I think it’s such a great way to promote and support the local artists, many of whom I would never even have heard of if not for those library displays.

      Reply
  5. Resh Susan
    Resh Susan says:

    Libraries are something we really miss out in India. The public libraries are not many in number and equipped with new books and the private libraries would have the popular ones; not the less popular ones.

    Reply
  6. Jovita
    Jovita says:

    I just recently received a new library card, I haven’t been to library since my children were young. I was so excited when I checked out the first three books, a couple weeks later I went back and got more. I since discovered ebook borrowing from our library and I love it, I can check out books at home and have them downloaded to my Kindle, and I think I’m addicted to audiobooks while I’m doing household tasks, thanks to my library. I’ve also joined the monthly book club and I’ve meet some wonderful ladies. I love my library! This was a wonderful post. 🙂

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yay, I’m so glad you’ve rediscovered the library. I hadn’t visited mine for many years either, until my son got old enough to read on his own. That first trip back was such a fantastic experience and now I go pretty much every week and am all about those online features if I can’t physically get there 🙂

      Reply
  7. Jessica @ Strung Out On Books
    Jessica @ Strung Out On Books says:

    YES. I am so grateful for my local library. I typically don’t listen to audiobooks because they’re more expensive that paperbacks and I don’t want to spend money on something I might not like just because the narrator isn’t working for me or something like that, so I tend to borrow audiobooks from the library instead. Great post!

    Reply
  8. Di @ Book Reviews by Di
    Di @ Book Reviews by Di says:

    Libraries are just the best places. I have wonderful memories of being surrounded by books from a very young age and I spent a lot of time in libraries considering my mother was a librarian! I did a lot of stacking the shelves myself and ran the YA section for a long time there.

    There’s something amazing about being able to see all of the books in front of you, touch them, open them! And as you mentioned – it gives you access to things you may not normally have considered.

    I adore libraries and I also love that they have moved with the times and made a lot of content available online and as ebooks. It’s wonderful!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I love that they have moved along with the times too. Sometimes it actually surprises me how much they really have embraced all of the technology, but I love that they have. Even just being able to browse the card catalog 24/7 to see if they have what I want is fantastic.

      Reply
  9. Kay @ It's a Book Life
    Kay @ It's a Book Life says:

    This post makes me smile. Thank you for spreading the word about using your local library! I love how much money I save by using the library, and I do happen to work at one as well and really appreciate fellow library advocates. 😀

    Reply
  10. Chrystal
    Chrystal says:

    Great post! I’ve been using my library a lot to borrow audio books on CD to listen to in the car. And I take my little girl almost weekly to play, go to story time and get new books! They have crafts, games, puzzles, toy and more for the Littles to do. Each week we find something new to try.

    Soon I’m hoping to try using Overdrive to load audio books to my tablet to read on my lunch breaks when I go back to work.

    I love my local library!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I love all of the activities they have for kids too. My favorite is one where they bring in shelter dogs and then let kids read to them. The kids love it and the dogs love the attention, and occasionally even an adoption will take place 🙂

      Reply
  11. Jorie
    Jorie says:

    Hallo, Hallo Suzanne! 🙂

    Blessed to cross your path recently in the twitterverse! I am coming through tonight wanting to start my visits on your blog with a discussion topic which is quite near & dear to my own bookish heart: local (public) libraries! I stress the importance of libraries quite a heap in my tweeted chatterments inasmuch on my blog! I need to revive my meme entries for #LibraryLoot — back to your post’s topic, however, I am quite adamant about how if your a book blogger with a humble purchasing budget, the best thing you can do is submit purchase REQs at your local library! 🙂 If your library cannot purchase books – check the restrictions on ILL’ing (inter-library loaning) (mine is 6mos out from Pub) – as this gives you the advantage of being able to read diversely and widely through the avenues of literature which interest you most! 🙂 I love being a #LibraryAdvocate as sometimes I find other bloggers did not even realise you can make purchase suggestions!

    My region has a stronghold of library goers – I also knit at the library and participate in the art / craft programs where you can either make things for charity and/or make things for yourself. I’ve made two wreaths this year and charity crafts to be donated locally as well. Libraries offer a repose from the stresses of our lives but they also have invaluable resources which bring local communities together – including lecture series, or other events geared towards children, teens and adults alike.

    I LOVE my online card catalogue! I used to be so clued into it – I was generally 1st in the holds queue — I backed off over the years since I became a blogger as I had to offset my library holds with my review books but evenso! I love how we can help others find books to read simply by placing holds and checking out materials – my librarians talked about this several times over the years how even being a frequent borrower is helpful towards the whole – each hold might tip the scale of interest to another person and sometimes, this is how readers find books outside their comfort zone reads. Who knew? I have also inspired librarians to pick up authors they never heard of before simply by the purchase REQs of mine which have come in.

    I do disagree with one point: I don’t mind how long it takes to get a new release – even if it’s a few months down the pike – as honestly, even then, the author might appreciate a new nod of interest – as there is such a fever pitch round release dates, it might be a pleasant surprise if some of us find their stories a bit lateron — even a few years later if we had to wait for ILL’ing.

    I have only just started getting into audiobooks – however, I was speaking to another patron the other week who mentioned ‘stick with the digital audios’ as the CDs get too scratched by other patrons who are not as careful with the discs as we are ourselves. That left me thinking — how blessed then to have OverDrive? (or another service similar which libraries use) I’m getting into the pattern of offsetting my print book readings with audiobook listenings – I colour as I listen to audiobooks to give myself the advantage of concentrated immersion but it also gives me a way to add more art into my life, too! (I’m a knitter and mixed media collage artist as well as a photographer)

    The resounding answer to your enquiry is YES! Libraries not only enhance my life but they make blogging wicked fun, too! I’ll be featuring more #librarybooks as the months and years shift forward, as I’m re-balancing my blog this year. Next year I’ll be celebrating my 5th Year as a book blogger and I intend to have loads of fun highlighting different books, authors & the resources of my library even moreso than I already do! 🙂 Thanks for pitching the Q!

    PS: For those who can read e-books (as I cannot not) you’ll be happy to note libraries will keep you well-read! You can also make purchase REQs for e-audiobooks, audiobooks on CD, ebooks, films, tv series and musical albums these days — there are more ways to be bookishly happy at your libraries than you may think with an added advantage of not paying upwards of $12 per film you’d like to see.
    Jorie recently posted…Book Review | “The Wedding Diary” (Charton Minster No.5) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdaysMy Profile

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I love being able to make purchase suggestions, especially if I come across a book that I think would really appeal to readers in my community. Thanks so much for all of your comments. It’s lovely to meet someone who loves the library as much as I do and I’ll look forward to seeing those library hashtags now that we’ve crossed paths on the blogisphere 🙂

      Reply

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