Thursday, March 4, 2010

Discovering the local library

Last week, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit our local library for the first time. It seems kind of strange to me now that we have been living here for two years and it's my first visit to the library, but there you go.

Anyway, I wanted to subscribe and asked how much that would be. The very kind and helpful librarian proudly told me that library subscription is now free, and they get all their funding from the Ministry of Culture. She told me that the number of readers has doubled since the new reform.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear that, and subscribed right away. I think it's truly wonderful that libraries are now funded by the Ministry of Culture. I expect our local library will be quite a useful resource now, and perhaps even more so in the future if we stride further down the homeschooling path.

I discovered a shelf of cardboard books, which Shira loves but which are also very expensive, if you take into account that they are small and only have a few pages. Borrowing them will be a great solution.

If you don't have a library close by, you can start a book swap with your neighbors. There will always be, of course, those books you want to have in the house and read again and again, but there are also many books you'll only want to read once, and buying them doesn't make much sense. I used to have neighbors who were my unofficial library for years and years. Many of the books I read while growing up were due to them being so generous with their time and hospitality.

There are also many classics available to read online for free, but nothing can replace curling up in bed or in an armchair with a good book.  


American Niqabi said...

Don't you just love libraries? I seriously could just sit in one all day and be perfectly happy. So many peoe these days think that reading is boring and why bother when you can just watch the movie and I don't understand that mentality. Books are and always will be my first choice.

elena rulli said...

Anna, I totally agree on the gift of having a library close to home! I discovered its advantages when I got married and living in a small city flat already full of books, since my husband is a book lover. Public libraries in my city aren't for free but their subscription fee is so cheap that it's only a pleasure to pay it. For juat 5€ per year you can have access to thousands of books and movies. Now, that's the life :)
I also agree that the pleasure of a 'real' book is unreplaceable, but if you enjoy reading on your computer, maybe you could find something interesting here:
Whishing you a good evening

Jiabaoyu said...

I love libraries b/c I love books but they're such an expensive endeavor! Books are quite expensive in the US, and it's hard to justify the cost of them if you only read them once, or if you're unsure of their quality. Before my parents knew that libraries were free, they were willing to investment a great deal of their tiny salary to buying books for me. Lucky for them, all public libraries are free...something I'm very thankful for b/c I was able to be exposed to many books as a child. My parents would let me stay at the library every Saturday as they shopped for their weekly groceries and I would wander around for hours. It was my favorite day of the week!

However, my fondest wish is to someday procure my own book collection. I would love to devote a whole room to nothing but books, and to peruse them whenever I please.

Jen S. said...

I just lvoe our library and spend as much time there as possible. Although I am not very good at getting items back on time! I did not realize that is so many countries the library is not free. Everywhere here in America they are and it had just never occured to me that it would be any other way - until of course I read it on a blog a few months ago.

I love the internet and blogs, you can be connected to like minded people all over the world and "see" things from so many perspectives!

Goldnrod said...

We love the library! I homeschooled my ds all the way thru school, & while I did buy curriculum, all his reading needs for fun, literature & following bunny trails was supplied by the library. Once he started doing research papers, we found the library more than adequate, no need to use the internet.

Fortunately, we have a great library system here, & they even took suggestions for books to buy. Pretty exciting when you're first on the hold list for a brand new book!

I still read a lot, & get everything from the library. I'm so thankful!

Rose said...

Absolutely! Libraries are a great resource for those of us who simply have to read.

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful topic to reminisce. I grew up with a great many books stamped .. Territory.. The funding of the local library was first voluntary with volunteer librarians, among them Mrs. Polly Kallenberg, may she rest in peace. (Growing up in a large family afforded a great selection if we were all allowed to check out 5 books each. Believe me, nearly all the contents of that library were in our house at one time or another!) We did not own a TV until everyone had learned to read.

Nowadays (the last 30 years!) so many interesting and colorful children's books are available compared to beloved black and white illustrated paper pulp (the page texture--not the content).

A big thing in college towns we've lived where there are many international students, is a library-sponsored book sale, where people donate books then pay a small fee to essentially trade their stock of quick-reads, with the proceeds going to the library to purchase new books. The sale price is 10 or 25 cents depending on paperback or hardbound, and bags of books on the 3rd day for $3.00. In college towns there are tremendous resources because there are a lot of old textbooks, and they go quickly since there's such a hunger to learn English quickly.

Twenty years ago we returned to the town where my first was born, and we stopped at the library, to greet our old friend, a children's librarian.

Hopefully, reading with a Shira at the library will be a delightful memory to recall 25 years from now!

Jo said...

I love the library and my children and I used them all the time - my children thoroughly enjoyed the once a week outing to chose their books - each had their own card and could borrow up to 30 books a visit!

I still borrow books (fiction and non fiction), CD's, DVD s and magazines. I select the books on the library website and when they are returned I get a message to tell me to come in a pick them up.

Reading is so important to teach a child, but the love of books will last a lifetime.

Rachel said...

Interesting about the Ministry of Culture. Library cards have been free in the US for decades!

Since we are living abroad right now, I have limited books with me and read to my son off of the internet. I'm able to find Aesop's fables, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Andersen, the Arabian Nights, and Kipling's Just So Stories, among others. And I can find most of those in multiple languages too!

Laura Ashley said...

We have wonderful libraires in my city. But you know what- I don't use them. I haven't even been in one in 5 years I don't think. All the books and movies for free and yet I usually don't even think about it.

Analytical Adam said...

In theory it sounds good but I have to say honestly the libraries don't have the best books and they do seem to promote liberal agenda's and of course have books that praise the government.

In the United States many libraries do support very liberal and anti-israel causes. There was an expose in the Jewish Press about this(even though overall I don't like the Jewish Press) I lost my job recently so maybe I will go to the library a little bit more. In some area's the books are OK but the best books I don't think are in libraries although I could be wrong. I wonder if some of the books I have purchased in the last 5 years are in libraries. I actually think it would be better if we had private book exchanges rather then the government being the supporter whether they are providing a good service or not. In some area's the book I guess are OK but to this day I never remember any book I read at the library changing my thinking. They were mostly the Political Correct Line of the time. Talk Radio and books from my book club (which I get at discounts) have had a much bigger impact on me and they are both in the private area.

emily said...

Libraries have long been free to use in the UK and many of my happiest childhood memories are of being taken there with my mum! I'm pleased that you and Shira will share the same pleasure.

I am trying to cut down on unnecessary spending and just an hour before reading this post, I resisted the urge to buy a couple of newly released hardbacks from Amazon and have placed an online request for the library to get them in stock. We can get DVDs, music, free internet access and can even pick up free recycling bags at our local library. Lots of resources are available online too, so I can use the library at my desk, at lunchtime in work :)

Anonymous said...

There is also another great site here in the US, called
You pay to mail your books in the system (media mail rate) after someone requests a book you post and then get a credit from the system. You then have a credit to request a book from the system (there are millions listed) You can choose to keep the book forever or send it on after reading it for another book. It is a combination of the library and a book club. It is free to join and you just pay a little to mail each book.

J in VA said...

I have always loved libraries.

I started taking my dd for story time when she was about 18 months.Then we would check out a few books to read until the next week's visit. They would have stories, puppet shows and a craft targeted toward different ages of preschoolers. I miss those days but we still go about once a week. Now she gets so many books (and such heavy books) that we can barely carries the "library bag."

Libraries are a great free (unless you keep things too long) resource in the states for books, audio books, and videos/DVDs. You can also have the library search other libraries to get books through interlibrary-loan for a small fee.

These days there are few books I want to read often enough to justify the cost.

I LOVE libraries. As a child my father used to send my brother and I to the library with instructions to make sure to get enough to avoid having to go back again the same day :)

Lady Anne said...

Our family has always been great readers! My grandchildren would rather go to the library than a toy store, I think.

TV is OK, but you can't put it down and come back to it - or carry it into the "library" and read while you contemplate life!

Bethany Hudson said...

I am the daughter of a librarian, and I must say we use our library a great deal. Our system here is excellent. All public libraries in the US are free (well, funded by taxes, at any rate), and ours is a very large system with an excellent variety of books that we can have shipped free of charge from one branch to another. We have over a dozen branches in our system in addition to the central library which has the largest collection. Typically, I will preview books I am thinking of purchasing at the library. If I want to read it again, have it to share with others, or if I cannot find it in our system, only then do I consider buying it. It has greatly reduced my book expenses, and being such an avid reader, this is very good for us. I am so spoiled!

ajgallion said...

Hi -- I'm actually going to scout out the areas in another state (I'm relocating) -- of course you know I've placed the LIBRARIES on my itinerary. I'm an English teacher, so it's a given!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had never thought that a public library would cost money, having lived all my life in countries where they are free. My husband however subscribes annually to our church college's library so he can study many religious books and I have on occassion borrowed books through him. Agree that the cardboard books are very expensive - we only have a few but I want to get a few more - I try to think of it as an investment that hopefully will be shared by other children in the future. I keep thinking about joining the library in the next village (walking distance) - it is in another county so I am not sure if I am allowed, I am a member of my own county library but the nearest one is too far away to walk to and it is closed on Mondays which is the only day I am likely to go by bus - it would not make financial sense to pay for the bus to borrow books at this stage. You have prompted me to look into this now I'm sure it is online, maybe the mobile (travelling) library stops in another village that I can walk to...

Otter Mom said...

It's a totally alien concept to me that a library is not free. Ours are funded through our taxes. My daughter and I could well live in one, we are in there several times a week and usually wind up with more books than we can carry. When she was little, I would get the books on tape for her and she would use those when we were on car trips to see family in another state. Now, we usually have several books we're reading and we frequently trade books back & forth since she's nearly 18 and we read a lot of the same things. The gift of reading is one of the most important things we can share with our children.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know that you would have to pay for a library! I am at the library all the time and we can order books from other libraries to be delivered to ours for borrowing! I love to read and I cannot afford to buy books (especially when I can borrow them for free!) That's great that the library is available to you now. Think of the variety of stories to read to your daughter!! We get a stack of stories every few days!

Anonymous said...

Public libraries are generally free in the US. Most people would be very surprised if there was a fee associated with borrowing materials. But, for one year we lived in a small rather poorly funded county in the US that did not have a local library and we had to go to another county. The nearest county charged $35.00/yr to borrow materials for each patron who did not live in the county. (I think it had a volunteer fire dept. and ambulance service from the hospital 14 miles away.) Our family pooled our requests and I was the designated member. I thought it was a very strange concept, as of all people who might not have ready access and might want to improve their knowledge base as inexpensively as possible with books would be impoverished folks.

Up to that time I'd never heard of paying for the privilege. Even in previous public libraries we could order books through the library that our libraries didn't have on the shelf through statewide interlibrary loan.

Now, I understand in some major cities, that there isn't enough funding to maintain the library hours for more than a couple days a week. That's really a shame, as often mayors and other public figures do not reduce their 'perks' before reducing access to educational resources like these.

Anonymous said...

Quite by "accident" I developed a library in our home. Most of the books are used, or purchased at discount.

When my children were little, the "library" was a bin, then a shelf, then a closet converted to a "library," and finally a room designated as as the library. Although I have a large variety of books, I have a soft spot for children trade books and continue to purchase them; I do not buy them new.

My children grew up to be good readers, and it wasn't unusual for one of them to discuss the book he or she was reading at the dinner table. Today, my young grandchildren will visit and head up to the library to pick out books to read or be read to. :-)

Leah Burks said...

You're right, baby board books are expensive! We have stores that resell all kinds of books, and I take advantage of that. Also, our library just had a huge book sale, and there were a few board books on the "free" table! Quite a blessing!

Meagan said...

I love free libraries, most of the time. I have to say though, having to pay for library services directly does have it's advantages.... I have never come across a library where I had to pay for lending rights. Instead it is completely paid for through my taxes, which are a requirement for me to pay. So the library could become completely disorganized, the staff unhelpful, and checking out books difficult and there is no obvious way of holding anyone at the library accountable. Even though I pay for the library, I have no say as to how or who runs the library. I would almost rather have to pay for the services directly in order to have accountability, since there is no competitive market, than for the libraries to be able to do whatever they want with the money I have to give them.

CappuccinoLife said...

Oh how bleak life would be without a library! :)

I really miss our big-city library branch in the town we just moved away from. I could request books and movies and almost always one of the branches would have it and would deliver it to the library branch I requested it from, just for me. :) They had a great system going, and a great children's room full of wonderful books.

The library we are now is still good. Much smaller, doesn't have a big interconnected system with other libraries. But we still enjoy weekly treks there, and the best thing we can get there are books on CD for the kids bedtime. Those are so expensive otherwise but we can listen to them 'til we're sick of them and then return them to the library, all for free!

Anonymous said...

A public library is one of the very best resources a community can have! Honestly, there are so many wonderful things to had there: beside the obvious books, there are music CD's, "talking books", computers & printers, & interloan services. Sometimes I feel as though our library is our second home. When we moves to this town, some 20 years ago, the library was the first place I sought out....before even changing my driver's license!