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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?