Monday, November 07, 2011

when did you last visit the library?

It's embarrassing to admit it, but I sort of forgot about our local library for a few years. Maybe it's because I virtually stopped reading, or because I was tired of paying late fees (and there were many!).....but whatever the past excuses, I am glad to be back there again.

When I did my big purge a few weeks ago, one of the things I did was to box up many of my books. I realized that I just don't seem to look at some of them much, or found the time reread them....and they were just taking up space (in my already too small place). Of course I kept all of my rug hooking books, art books, idea and inspiration sources....but I pretty much got rid of all of the other books and novels that I had already read once or admitted that I would likely never read. After a some family and friends picked though and chose what they wanted, I hauled the remaining 3 big boxes to the library to donate. (In my town, staff pick through the books and add to their collection where they can/need and the rest goes into a room at the front where people can 'buy' them for a small donation). For me, it was the ideal solution -- I didn't want the books to just go in the green bin, but I didn't really want to hang onto them, either.

In the years that I've been absent from my local library, a lot has changed. Not only do they continue to lend books, but you can quickly and easily renew them online or over the phone. They also have current movies that you can borrow, a selection of books on tape, lots of computers, and much more. For me, the most intriguing new service is e-books. Did you know that you can read e-books for FREE? Most libraries now offer this service, so if you are not already taking advantage of it -- and you like to read books on your iPad, Kobo, Kindle or other device -- you should definitely inquire at your local branch.

The system my library belongs to lets you borrow up to 5 e-books at a time. The lending period is for 7 days, and at the end of the 7 days you no longer have access to the book and need to borrow it again if you are not finished reading. Since many libraries share the same inventory of books, what you want to read might not be immediately available, but you can reserve up to 3 books at a time. When it's your turn, you will receive an e-mail and you have 2-3 days to 'borrow' the book before they offer it to the next person on the waiting list. Needless to say, I've been enjoying this new service quite a bit and it's helping me work towards my goal of reading a new book every 2 weeks this year (even if I am still a long way off!).

I also checked (on-line, from the convenience of my home) whether or not they had a documentary that I had heard about on someone's blog a while back (sorry - I couldn't remember where or when, just the basic premise of the film). To my surprise, they did have "Herb & Dorothy" in their off I went this weekend to borrow it, along with a couple of other books that were on the shelf nearby. (I will try to report back and let you know how I enjoyed them....sometime before they are due back in three weeks).

With all of the talk lately about libraries in Toronto, I think it's really important to support them if we want to keep them. I'm sure glad that I've rediscovered mine.