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Toronto has an excellent public library system that offers a wide range of paper, audio, and electronic books.
We also have some politicians who have been trying to justify additional cuts to the library’s budget for years despite how popular it is here and how many services it offers to underprivileged groups like new immigrants and people who don’t have homes.
One of the tools our librarians use to fight back against these cuts is showing statistics like having the highest circulation of library materials per capita in the entire world in 2008 or setting the world record for number of digital downloads in 2021.
This is one of the reasons why I use my local library as much as I possibly can. My tax dollars are already paying for it, so why not do my small part to help the librarians prove that this money is well spent and that their budgets should not be slashed?
My other reasons for using the library include saving money, protecting the environment by using shared resources as much as possible, and being an avid reader who doesn’t have a lot of physical space to store books in my home.
With all of that being said, I pass zero judgement on other people’s choices. Surprisingly, some countries don’t have libraries at all according to some bookish folks I’ve met over the last few years. Not every library system is as large or comprehensive as the one I have access to, and not everyone can patiently wait a few weeks or even months for a popular title to become available for them like I do on occasion. There is also the matter of Internet access and how patchy it can be in some rural areas. I’d probably own more physical books myself if I knew to expect a few long power outages a year or if I had very slow and unreliable Internet access like some rural communities do.
So much depends on where you live, how patient you are, and what resources you have access to!