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Your local library - do you still use it?


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Initial post: 13 Aug 2014 21:20:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Aug 2014 21:21:10 BDT
Berzelius says:
I'm rather ashamed to say that I don't. I joined my local junior library when I was about eight and, since then, I've always been a regular library user. And then ebooks became widespread. Since I got my first Kindle a few years ago I've essentially stopped using my library. I still occasionally browse in there but I don't borrow anything.

I'm not exactly sure why I've abandoned a decade's old habit, but I have. I'd guess it's because of the ease of use of an ereader.
* No need to keep renewing books (I always seemed to have the maximum number of library books on loan and they took ages to finish).
* Having what is essentially a library at your fingertips.
* Holiday luggage no longer consisting of 50% clothes and 50% books.
* And no doubt numerous other reasons.

I've tried using the ebook section of my library but, to be brutally honest, it's rubbish.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2014 22:30:41 BDT
Sharon4 says:
Alas no. And like you, I rather regret it, as I don't believe that I'm merely leaving the books and other items for those who can't afford to buy books or prefer using libraries. The effect of not using public services isn't as benign as that, especially in a climate where funding bodies are looking to save money.

However, using the library was becoming problematic, as most of the good stuff was in heavy volumes. I have problems handling anything more than 350 or so pages, a big problem when you love fat books. A page limit as low as that excludes a lot of fantasy - no Robin Hobb, George RR Martin, China Mieville, Patrick Rothfuss etc.

Having to wait for reservations to be returned to the library. I'm all I'm favour of waiting my turn, but I resented having to wait longer than the return date because someone was on holiday, or was a friend of the librarian and managed to squeeze another few days out of their maximum borrwing time. That's not equality of access IMPO.

The shocking physical condition of audiobooks. My DH used to use the library stock regularly and I don't think he encountered any without at least one damaged disk. For him, audiobooks are a supplement to books in text, but book-lovers with severe sight impairments deserve all our sympathy if that's the service they get. We've since switched to Audible and although it costs more, we get a lot out of the subscription, especially as we both use it.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 08:23:56 BDT
Sharon, it might be worth checking your libraries website, my library have audiobooks to borrow electronically. Infact this and a few ebooks are the way I use my library, I find my local one has poor choice and it costs £1 (£4 if it's out of county) to order a book.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 08:29:54 BDT
I don't use my local library if you mean the physical building but I use my local library online for e_books and audio books which I download to my MP3 player. This is partly because it is more convenient (I don't need to drive anywhere) and partly because I prefer ebooks.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2014 09:25:41 BDT
Denis Powell says:
Most of the Libraries in the County of Caerphilly have been re-housed in recent years, some into new buildings. Many are now "multi-purpose" in as much as you can often access other Council services while there, including paying bills.

As a result, the buildings are well used and I think, like a supermarket, once you have people in through the door there's a better chance of them taking a look at what's on offer.

I use two local libraries on a regular basis, for research, but rarely borrow a paper book as I require the large print versions if I want to read without difficulty.

The ebook lending services isn't run by local libraries here as it's a national "All Wales" feature. I've used it a few times but, of course, I can't read the books on my Paperwhite. That isn't a major issue for me as I now have a Kobo that is "library" compliant and my Fire HD.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 10:03:06 BDT
CallmeAng says:
When I first got my kindle,I carried on using my local library for a while but found the kindle so convenient that I gradually stopped.I did feel guilty about not supporting the library service so was really pleased when Cheshire libraries started doing audio books.Recently Cheshire libraries have also started providing e-books.I use both services and have found them very good.I also feel that in doing so,I am supporting the library service

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 10:11:14 BDT
Kaz says:
Nope. Not used a library in Warwickshire for over 10 years. Mainly because getting to a decent library (the one in Leamington) was a pain, and parking was expensive.

But if you ignore the parking side, the books just weren't worth it - the romance section seemed to be the one that was the most up-to-date, and the other sections (sci-fi / fantasy / horror / thriller & mystery) seemed to be left to fend for themselves.

If you wanted a book that was in stock at another library in Warwickshire (and wasn't on loan) the librarian used to make you feel that you were making an unacceptable request, and adding to their workload. With an attitude like that, I am amazed that more people didn't stop going - or perhaps they were too intimidated by the "dragon ladies" to even dare to ask for an inter-library transfer..

So all I can say is thank god for the Kindle, and Waterstones. I'd have gone bonkers without them!

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 12:07:06 BDT
jaibee says:
I use my local library all the time - for ebooks. I bought a cheap Nook ereader (£29 if I remember rightly) and download epub books from the library regularly. It is great, the choice gets better all the time. No worrying about taking them back as they just expire when the time is up. Our library also does emagazines which I read on the computer - definitely wouldn't be buying them - it is great to be able to choose from a good range of titles.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 15:10:30 BDT
cruise queen says:
I will admit that I don't use our local library at all now I have a kindle . Our new library is only open part time due to cost cutting measures . I don't know what I'd do without my kindle .

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2014 15:53:48 BDT
Inga says:
If library users find the library staff to be "dragon ladies" or to be giving special privileges to their friends, please do tell the library director about it. As a library director (now retired), I did have a few such complaints come to me over the years, and all of them were dealt with promptly and seriously. The last thing a good library staff wants is for people to abandon the library over a few bad apples! :-)

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 16:06:01 BDT
Wee weegie says:
Very seldom use the local library nowadays. Our library has always been poor in terms of the authors I enjoy and now with the reorganisation of such services it would seem that the library provides all manner of services but an ever diminishing supply of books. Genres are limited and reference books even more so.
I always manage to cause great disruption by requesting something that can only be 'borrowed' from the British library. Hence, money to be paid, an unspecified wait (min 3 weeks) for said book etc, etc.
Its such a faff - thank heavens for Kindles.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 21:28:06 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 14 Aug 2014 21:31:56 BDT]

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 21:30:54 BDT
Not since I was Kindlised - four years back come Christmas. The problem was (is) that the mobile library which called at our village once a fortnight had a very limited stock and a very slow turnover of alternative titles. Add to that its waiting time in the village was just twenty minutes. It is now only calling once a month and for just fifteen minutes. The nearest permanent library is an eight mile trip and the cost of parking is such that I could buy several kindle editions for the cost of a mornings parking.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 21:33:24 BDT
littlesheepy says:
I use mine - in fact I work in it!

:o)

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 22:12:16 BDT
 says:
Gave up on the library when they started to clear shelves of books and fill them up with Playstation games and DVDs.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 22:22:05 BDT
Garscadden says:
I use my local library a huge amount, mainly for research and reference. It's normally full of people studying, so much so that it's sometimes hard to find table space. It was the same where I lived previously too.

I suspect that's due to living fairly close to academic institutions.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 23:04:54 BDT
PA says:
I still use mine. I love the books and actually like the fact that there are DVDs and adio-books to take out. I read the papers and magazines (saves me buying copies of periodicals where I may only want to check out one article). There are occasional book sales of old stock and we get some author events every so often. I'd also suggest that the library is thriving - lots of children to keep things lively, doing their homework and using the computers in the holidays and after school - so I'll continue to go along.

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 23:16:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2014 03:37:47 BDT
Sharon4 says:
Thank you for your suggestion Miss Smitten. Unfortunately, the library service in this area doesn't have much to offer anyone who isn't engaged with books as a physical product, either in text or audio form. There isn't a digital library as far as I can see and given the council's financial situation, we are unlikely to get one. At the same time, we are hyper-connected; there are several ISPs scrapping over our subscription fees and the local coffee shops rattle with people and their gadgets, including ereaders. The push for digital services and away from physical ones is enormous and shared by people elsewhere in the country.

The library service isn't bad in itself. The book stock is reasonably wide and in decent condition and the shake-up in staffing, while traumatic, has meant that a certain contingent has been let go. However, what that means for the remaining staff, who are now expected to do more with less is another question. The concept of a library where the crime and horror stock is neglected is an odd one; round here, you might have to wait for months for a popular title to become available. Not long after I got my Kindle, Peter Robinson published his stand-alone novel, Before The Poison. I took one look at the waiting list and put it on my Kindle wishlist instead. There were two or three copies in stock, but the library list was so long, it would be out in paperback (and cheaper on Kindle) by the time my name came up. Peter Robinson is sort of local (a Yorkshire Canadian) and he's hugely popular, but it's a feature of the crime section generally. AFAIK, the library continues to be well-used, but people would desert it in droves if they couldn't get their regular helping of violent crime:-)

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 08:16:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2014 08:17:05 BDT
I rarely use the library anymore, although I occasionally still do. The biggest problem is that anytime there is a particular book I really want to read I can be assured that the library won't have it - and it is quite likely that no other branch in the country has it. If another branch does have one they will put it on a reserve list for a fee, but if the book has quite a few pages then I'm not likely to finish it before the due date and would have to go through the same process again. However, in learning Dutch there was a very nice picture dictionary which I'd checked out a few times in succession until I could find a suitable dictionary of my own. Unfortunately, so many cuts have been made by the government that the library very rarely gets any new books. All the surrounding libraries have been closed and ordering books to this branch from the south is getting increasingly expensive and difficult.

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 09:16:42 BDT
M Michel says:
I use both equally depending on where I am. My local library has a really good collection of books, and I can get new issues quickly rather than paying for them in kindle. Also has a good selection of magazines, newspapars, CDs etc.
The kindle is used for reading when I'm out and about, on holiday etc. to save me carrying the paper books around.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2014 11:50:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2014 11:51:55 BDT
eric rambler says:
Very much the same for me.

Whilst a regular library user I did find returning books on time or renewing a bit of a challenge, so I don't miss that. I am tempted to try a Kobo or a Nook and use the local libraries ebook service, when I checked I thought the selection looked good but I haven't used it.

E-books are the future though, in many ways it's a shame but things change and the libraries do need to change in the ways Denis mentions. I don't understand why there isn't a toilet and a coffee shop in our library, even before ebooks became popular it seemed an underused building, I'd certainly visit more often.

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 12:11:38 BDT
Bookworm58 says:
I use my library less since I found it cheaper to source books elsewhere. I will borrow titles from my "To read" list that my local branch has, but as it is a small branch library this accounts for about 30% of the titles I want to read. As it costs £1 to reserve titles (within the authority but not at my branch) I now look at charity chops and Amazon to supply these titles. With judicious monitoring using Ereaderiq and daily deal emails I can often pick up titles I want for 99p which may only be 1p cheaper but is more convenient in that I have access to the book when I want to read it, without any time pressures. With a local charity shop offering books at 30p or 4 for a £1, this also provides much of my reading. With constraints on library budgets increasingly the books I want are not always in the library system anyway.

My library authority now also offers ebooks and audio books free of charge (which I can fortunately take advantage off, though the ebook selection is at present not very exciting).

I think for many people their library experience depends on where they are based and whether they are lucky enough to have a library that has a decent budget (normally a larger town library). As an ex librarian, I have always tried to promote libraries and support them whenever possible, but even I have to admit that with changing technologies and current budget constraints many are going to find it hard to retain borrowers who no longer see them as a first port of call.

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 14:18:24 BDT
Isabella says:
Part of my problem is that the library is a ten minute drive or a half hour walk, so if I have no other reason to go into town, it means a special trip to return books. This sounds feeble but the walk isn't particularly pleasant and I'm not one for wandering round shops aimlessly. I do pick up bags for the recycling from the library, though!

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 19:42:35 BDT
Aud1274 says:
Sadly I don't use my local library these days although at one time I was a regular customer.The problem I had was the limited number of books in the genre I enjoyed reading.Once I'd read all of these it was a case of finding other material or ordering and paying for titles from the main library.The same titles seemed to be in stock for years.Charity shops in my area seem to charge 3 to4 pounds per book and again choice is a bit limited.Therefore to me the kindle wins hands down as its cheaper,more convenient and I have a greater choice at my fingertips without travelling miles.It's quite sad really as I still think libraries are important and we should look for ways to keep and improve them.

Posted on 17 Aug 2014 09:08:24 BDT
Tweedledum says:
I joined oneclickdigital through my library. It's a free audiobooks library and you can borrow several at any one time. No fines as as soon as time is up they are automatically removed from your kindle. You can renew easily and make a wish list. Not an enormous selection but I currently have four books on oneclick to listen to. The library updates the collection all the time. There is good email support if you forget your password or have other problems.
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Discussion in:  kindle discussion forum
Participants:  23
Total posts:  28
Initial post:  13 Aug 2014
Latest post:  17 Aug 2014

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