Bookish Discussion

My Library and Me

Hello, it’s Sabrina!  A little while ago, Vera gave me the idea to write post about the library so, today I’m here to tell you about all the ways my local public library has changed my reading life – and exactly how much money it has saved me.  I am super privileged to have access to such an amazing resource for free and I hope, if you have a public library in your area, this post encourages you to explore and support it.

First of all, I want to tell you how exactly I use the library and the benefits of the different methods.  There are three main ways I access books:

1.  ON THE PREMISES

The most obvious way to use your library is to visit it.  This is a great way to find books that you might never have heard of before, just by browsing the shelves.  This is an especially useful method for me if I am looking for non-fiction books on a certain subject, because everything is super organised. It’s particularly good if you want to read something immediately, instead of waiting in a queue – looking at you, mood readers.  

My local library even has some shelves in the front that they use to spotlight different kinds of books – sometimes it’s new releases, sometimes cookbooks, sometimes celebrity autobiographies.  Often the subjects are even more specific than that and it has led to me finding some interesting books that I would have otherwise overlooked among the thousands.  

Of course, the library is also where you can find librarians!  All the ones I have spoken to have been kind and excited to help.  But if you don’t want to interact with anyone, that’s okay too at my library, because the check out and returns systems now use computers.  I just have to scan my card and place the books I want on the scanning bed.  It’s very quick and easy to use, and I can choose whether I want my receipt emailed to me or printed right then and there.

2.  ORDERING THROUGH THE WEBSITE

This is the method I use most often. I may in fact be slightly addicted to it. It’s just so easy to log in, search up a book and place it on hold. On every book’s page there’s a bunch of information: your place in the queue, how many copies the library has and where those copies are, the Goodreads average rating plus Goodreads reviews embedded on the website. There’s other information there too that’s less relevant – the publishing year, number of pages, height and width of the book amongst other things.

Recently, my library’s website has even added a History function, where you can see all the books you have borrowed in the past.

My library is part of a whole network of libraries, and the website is the place where you really notice that in action. I can order a book in from several suburbs away, and they will send it to my chosen library and give me an automated phone call when it’s in. There is even the possibility to connect to a wider library network and have books sent from interstate – though this service has a small fee.

Also, once I’ve put a book on hold, I can choose to suspend it so that my position in the queue goes down, but the book won’t become available to me until after my chosen date. This has been especially useful for me this month – there are several books that I’ve paused my hold on so I can stagger the amount of books I have at one time without sacrificing my position in the queue.

When the books arrive at my library, I go in and get them off the Reserved shelf and check them out. I have ten days to pick them up after I’ve been notified.

The other best part of the website, in my opinion, is being able to request books for the library to buy. I’ve sent in a few by now and most of them have been ordered for me and I’ve actually been able to get my hands on them!

3.  USING LIBBY

I discovered this last year and wow, has it changed things for me.  If you have a library number, you should be able to access Libby, an e-book and audiobook app.  This is an incredible resource and I have it all in the palm of my hand on my smart phone.  The benefits of Libby combine those of the physical library and using the website – you can both put specific books on hold or browse the books that are currently available.  The pure instantaneousness of Libby is one of the things that makes it so special.  You’re also supposed to be able to use it without an internet connection if you download the books you’ve borrowed, but I must admit that I’ve had some issues with that. I mostly use it for finding books that my library doesn’t have or for finishing a book when I’ve hit the return deadline on a physical copy.


There are some other benefits of the library too, that don’t have to do with books:

🌸 The free use of computers.

🌸 Events!  I have gone to several talks and workshops at my library – some free, some with a small cost.

🌸 They have current newspapers and magazines in the building.

🌸 I found out they have writing club!  I haven’t joined because I am afraid, but it’s fun to know that it’s there.

🌸 They send out a newsletter every month with interesting articles, author interviews, events information and other things.

🌸 You can also borrow tv shows, movies and music.

NOW, ONTO THE MONETARY SAVINGS…

Below, you will see the Google Sheets document where I calculated the cost of all the books I borrowed from the library in the year 2019.  If you can’t see it, I’ve mentioned the total below that so don’t worry.  Some disclaimers first:

🌸 All the prices I got were from the Dymocks website (all in Australian dollars, as my total is), and I chose the cheapest paperback edition (except for a few where the only option was hardcover), as that is what I would buy.

🌸 I used to buy all my books from the Book Depository because it’s usually slightly cheaper but I decided it was worth the few extra dollars to buy locally, so I am keeping this in line with that.

🌸 I’ve discovered that e-book copies are significantly cheaper for the most part, and hardcovers are significantly more expensive.

🌸 Audiobooks are typically fifty million times more expensive and I wouldn’t buy one even if it was my last option because I would go broke in a matter of weeks.

🌸 I absolutely would not read graphic novels either if I didn’t have my library, because they are so expensive!

So, the grand total I saved by using the library in the year 2019?

$2,530.23

There’s no way I would be financially able to spend that much each year on books the way I live now.  In fact, I probably would be barely reading at all. But thanks to my library, I am able to pick and choose which books I want to buy and own forever, so it’s not as though I don’t spend any money on books.  Just an amount that is feasible for me.


And now, some fun facts I discovered while collecting the above prices:

🌸  There is a version of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield in audiobook format for sale at $116.99

🌸 If you thought that was bad, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow can be purchased, in audiobook format, at $191.99

🌸 And if you thought that was surely the worst it could get, Girls of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan would set you back $271.99 for the audiobook copy

🌸 The second hardcover collection of the Saga graphic novel series can be purchased for $111.99

🌸 The cheapest copy of The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell, a poetry collection coming in at a mere 64 pages, costs $39.99

🌸 The Secret History by Donna Tartt has been published as an orange Penguin book, and so can be bought reasonably cheaply for only $12.99, otherwise it is $24.99

🌸 Every single book I included except for 100 Years of Fashion ($55.00) and Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (the paperback is for some reason $40.24) was x dollars and 99 cents, which leads me to wonder – is that really necessary?

IN CONCLUSION

Libraries are an incredibly valuable resource that I wish were available to everyone.  I also wish they were all funded well enough to be as good as mine.  That being said, do some research into your library!  I didn’t know about a lot of the benefits of mine until I dug a little deeper.  It’s also important to note that using your library still benefits authors, so there is no need to feel guilty for taking advantage of it.

What do you think?

Do you have a local library? Is it good? Do you know how much you spent on books last year? Let me know!

19 thoughts on “My Library and Me

  1. This is a super interesting thing to discover and look at! I know that a lot of my reading has been enhanced because of audiobooks and ebooks. I never sat and looked at how much money I’ve saved in a year from using them, but that’s amazing to look at!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this so much! Especially how you added up all those savings… It’s crazy seeing all of that added up! My library has so many nostalgic memories… There was a huge literary mural in the children’s section that I loved with all my heart. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am fortunate enough to have a local library right near my house, and although it is small, it is quaint and cute. Also, I am always surprised by the selection they have despite it being so small. I always leave finding something I wanted! I think libraries can be great anxiety busters as well. The quiet and just the overall sense that everyone is in a good mood there really helps my mood go up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your library sounds adorable! It’s so good that even though it’s small, you can find books that you’re after (especially since it’s so near to you!). I totally agree with you that they are good for lifting the mood, I always feel better after being at my library.

      Like

  4. I love this post so much- not only because how you let us know how you utilizes your library, but also how much you’ve saved and the bits of fun facts you’ve found- which is mainly related to how expensive some books are. It really highlights the importance of library and providing access to reading for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The last time I went to the library was to drop off books for the Friends of the Library sale. I do, however, borrow ebooks and audiobooks all the time. The electronic borrows are easier for me, since I am at/traveling to work for most of each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, this post must have taken some time to compose especially if you tracked how much you saved by using your library! I just love that you went into all that effort. I love using my library, especially as it has such a good manga and graphic novels section and those books are expensive. I also like its ebook range. As I am on a self afflicted buying ban it has been a huge help to me as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m in Aus and have a similar library system by the sounds of it!

    All the libraries in my state are connected so I can request books to be sent to my closest library (or if you’re impatient like I am sometimes I’ll see if they have a copy available at a library on the way/near where I work and will grab it during my commute.) And its on the One Card Network so I just had to get one card from one library and I have access to them all.

    I definitely would not have read so many graphic novels if it wasn’t for the wide range all the libraries here have either! There’s not a lot of books I don’t have access to via the library because of this system, I used to go through my whole TBR on goodreads to see what books I had access to and pretty much all of them I could get from a library in my state.

    What I love most about the system though is that my cousin lives in a rural area and I taught her how to use the system so that she’s able to access so many books she wouldn’t have been able to read otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does sound like a similar library system to mine! I’ve never heard the term “One Card Network”, but the concept is the same for my library card.
      That’s incredible that you have access to so many books – I still find that there are a lot on my TBR that they don’t have, but I can always request!
      That is awesome for your cousin. I imagine it would be tricky to get lots of books in a rural area, so having a library system like that must be a great help.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s definitely a great system and it would be great to see it become a thing worldwide!

        It’s a huge help! I took her there first so she could see how easy it all was to borrow books without having to talk to anyone since she’s got really bad anxiety. That she could request books on her phone to be transferred to her library and then she’ll be notified when they’re ready and she can go and pick them up and borrow them without having to interact with anyone. And so while I was there I asked where holds can be collected and checked out the returns system because they’re not all the same in my state and had a look at what they had normally in the library which was…not a lot.

        Their YA section was really small and dated They didn’t have any of the books I wanted her to read, or the manga series she really wanted. But now she’s read a bunch from that series and got books for her sister as well all on her own. Just makes me even more thankful for my states libraries!

        Liked by 1 person

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