Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Using the Library vs. Buying Books

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An ereader propped up by eight paper books that are stacked on top of each other. 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!

18 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Using the Library vs. Buying Books

  1. Libraries are amazing. I’m more prone to buying books (mainly for logistical reasons) but we have some excellent libraries in our area and I should probably get out and support them more often.

  2. How I used to love libraries, real libraries, quiet places full of books where everyone could just read and study and write all day. I have bought books just to give to libraries, to share with all the neighbors…

    That’s why I feel so sickened to see them throwing away valuable old books, hiring extroverts, filling buildings with noise and clutter, trying to remake “libraries” into those pathetic “community centers” that died of lack of interest in the 1960s. I don’t believe our tax dollars are well spent on supporting the messes that are now called “libraries.”

  3. The library system in the U.K. is under attack from politicians who view them as costly drains on resources. So many have closed or been handed over to be run by volunteers who are not trained librarians. Makes me so angry.

  4. Sounds like you have a wonderful library system! I hope the politicians wise up and realize how important it is in your community. I’m also lucky to be in a place that has an excellent library system—actually two since we have both city-owned and county-owned libraries. I use the county one most because it’s nicer (bigger, prettier, better organized, etc.) and closer to my house, but I like having access to both systems. Between the two of them, I can pretty much find any book I’m looking for and the wait is never TOO long 🙂

    I’m a huge library fan, but I do end up buying books as well. I try to support authors when I can and there are some books that I just want to have on my shelf. And then there are those pesky book sales that I can’t ever resist! The struggle is real.

    Susan
    http://www.blogginboutbooks.com

  5. My reading is roughly split between library titles and purchased ones, though the exact percentage drifts a few points from year to year. Most of my reading is nonfiction and spans subjects no small local library could carry, but I can use also an ebook consortium we’re members of, or my university library. I always check them first before buying a title.

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