Monday, February 25, 2013

To have or not to have Libraries

I wanted to add onto my Paperless post of last week.  One commenter had mentioned that they believed libraries would be obsolete in the future.  A little bit ago we'd had this conversation at Compuserve about whether libraries are no longer relevant.  It was linked to this article where one author calls for the end of libraries because of lost revenue for authors. 

I don't think anyone will debate that the book industry is changing.  Libraries aren't what they used to be, but does that mean they are no longer needed? 

I take my two children to the library once a week.  Not only do we attend story time but we walk around the library, browse, choose books to check out for the week, read a few, and just have a good time.  There have been many times when my children have loved books so much I went out and bought them.  That's money I spent in the book industry I wouldn't have if we hadn't gone to the library.  But mostly, libraries help teach my children to love reading.  I'm raising a future generation here, and if we want that future generation to love books we have to expose them to books.  My kids love reading.  In great part this is because of our library visits.  During the week they will sit down DAILY and read to themselves each of their library books. Then they will read every single one of their own books (which are not few) that they can get their hands on.  Then they will make me read each of them out loud. 

How do I know this is because of libraries?  Because I've tested it.  In the past we've had months that were too busy to go to the library.  With no new books checked out, and without that connection to the wonder of books created by the library, my children quickly became disinterested in reading.  To the point where if I asked if I could read to them they said "no" and went to play cars.  I know that with kids interests cycle and you have to be prepared for ups and downs in any activity, but as long as we're visiting the library, their interest doesn't wane.

I know that as the book industry changes libraries are going to have to change, too.  But I hope they find a way to fit into our future, because we need them.  Our children need them and authors need them.  In the Compuserve thread one person pointed out that librarians are book pimps.  There are many authors that I've loved and spent a lot of money on after finding them at the library. 


So, that's my opinnion, what's yours?  How do you feel about libraries?  Are they good, or are they stealing revenue from authors?  Should they be in our future, or are they going to fall out of existence?


25 comments:

  1. We used to borrow something like 50+ picture books at a time (I kid you not) when my kids were much younger. It was part of our weekly routine. We don't go so much now (and no we don't borrow 50+ books anymore), but it's still part of our lives. I borrow non fiction books from the library for research for my novels. I prefer to read the hard copy over an ebook.

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  2. My daughter is 17, is computer savvy beyond what I ever will be, is a social media expert on sites I'm barely familiar with, and listens to all her music on iPod. She is also an avid reader. When I asked her if she'd like a Kindle for Christmas, she declined stating she prefers real books. Long live the libraries.

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    1. Don't get me wrong. I like ebooks. They provide a different way of reading that makes it easier in some situations. But I'll always love libraries.

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  3. I agree with Julie, Long Live the Libraries! Often I buy a book after I've read it at the library. Without the library, I might buy even less since I can't them preview mega-books at a bookstore anymore :(

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    1. I definitely can't afford to support my reading habit. I need libraries, but they do give me lots of good books to put on my 'to buy' pile.

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  4. Like my love of actual, physical books, I also adore libraries and hope beyond hope that they don't disappear. My kids (now teens) adore the library and still prefer books to ebooks. I think even they get tired of the screen.

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  5. I'm like Barbara and love physical books. I think libraries are adjusting to the times and will be here in the future. I love them. It's where I've learned about many authors and my daughter loved it when she was younger and had time to read for pleasure. Most of us can't afford to buy all our books and I can't see libraries going away. I'm using mine quite a bit now that I'm getting less ARCs. And I'm loving it.

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  6. I've come to prefer e-book, mainly for convenience, but I think there will always be a place for libraries. They seem to be offering more and more than just lending books and I think they're also a great place for like minded people to come to enjoy reading.

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    1. I do love ebooks, no question about it, but I can't finance my massive reading habit. I like this "they're also a great place for like minded people to come to enjoy reading" I've met some great friends at the library.

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  7. When I was a kid my mom took me to the library every Wednesday. That's where my love for books began. I'd hate to see them go :/

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  8. Libraries are here to stay...pure and simple! Of course they will need to adapt, but they're not going anywhere! :)

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    1. Good to hear it said with such confidence!

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  9. I live in Henderson, Nevada and we are at risk of shutting down the majority of our libraries due to the economy. We are going there tonight as a family though. It's a wholesome place to spend a Monday night.

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  10. I LOVE libraries and I am optimistic that there will always be a place for them. Libraries aren't simply places where you can check out books- many offer workshops, story time for young children, and ample space to read, study, or work quietly. I could go on and on about the wonderful things that libraries provide.

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    1. As long as there are enough of us that feel this way they'll stick around.

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  11. 'I take my two children to the library once a week. Not only do we attend story time but we walk around the library, browse, choose books to check out for the week, read a few, and just have a good time.'

    I adore the very thought of this, Sara.

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    1. We have good times. I hope it leaves them with happy memories.

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    2. Although I should say not every day is ideal. There are days at the library with crying, or me chasing barking "puppies" that won't turn back into human boys and girls.

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  12. I always have, and always will, love libraries. When we lived in Maryland, I had library cards for six different libraries, and I used them all. When we moved to our little town here in Georgia back in ''71, the local library" was in an old house, and a bunch of donated books were shelved all willy-nilly. They didn't even use the Dewy decimal system! After visiting it for the first time, I cried. Then, immediately joined two books clubs.

    Bottom line, I think libraries are indispensable. Think of all the families who can't afford to buy books. I can't imagine life without books, and libraries make them available to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to read them.

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  13. We must have libraries! I've always wanted a library in my house. Must have!

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  14. I believe that libraries will always exist. They'll change since publishing and how we receive information is changing, but they'll still be around.

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  15. I live 30 minutes from a small community library that we visit at least 4x a month. Sixty minutes away is the city library that we visit only in the summer because of the winter conditions. I love the atmosphere, the smell, the quiet. I can't guarantee that either library will never go away. But surely we're not the only readers who love borrowing books. I hope not. I can't imagine life without the option of borrowing books. And I agree with you. I think children need to be introduced to the wonderment of books and all the magic they have to offer.

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  16. I love my library. I check out books based on recs and buy the ones I really like. Right now my list has about a dozen books on it, so probably about half of the ones I check out. My kids love the library too. I don't buy as many children's books though because with four kids, their tastes are eclectic.

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  17. I'd like to think that libraries will still exist. There are many weeks where I get all geared up and think, "Yes! We will go to the library this week!" But when it comes down to working out the schedule sharing a vehicle with my husband I simply send him to work with the van and walk the kids down to the park. However, we will be attending a book sale at the library this month. Perhaps it'll be the kick we need to start attending more regularly.

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  18. I agree with you! I'm always sad to hear of a library closing.

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