Libraries are a hot topic in the UK at the moment, with the government and councils seeming to view them as pointless moneypits which can easily be dispensed with without any derogation to life or culture. I’m not going to add anything dramatic to the debate, but I wanted to articulate why libraries full of books are important to me.
For books I want to read
I discovered Leigh Bardugo recently. I bought Six of Crows after reading the first few pages in Waterstones, and it is utterly superb (check out my review if you want to know why I think so). I then bought Shadow and Bone, the first of the grisha trilogy (same author, same world, different story and characters) and consumed it with equal haste and delight.
Finances then drew me to a bit of a stop, but I requested Seige and Storm and Ruin and Rising from the library and I’m halfway through Seige and Storm already.
Without a library, I’d be broke or bereft.
For books I might want to read
When I bought Six of Crows I also scanned the blurb and first few pages of Snow Like Ashes on the promotions table in Waterstones. It had caused quite a buzz on my twitter stream, and I liked the sound of it. But I wasn’t quite convinced in the bookshop and Six of Crows won the day.
So when I saw Snow Like Ashes in the library, I snapped it up … only to set it down again after reading a couple of chapters. Not for me, I’m afraid (too much backstory for my taste).
I’ve just picked up The Sin Eater’s Daughter for very similar reasons. I like the sound of it (and I’ll review it as it’s shortlisted for the YA Book Prize), but I’m not convinced enough to buy it and keep it forever.
For books I have no idea I want to read (but I do!)
I have found so many treasures in my local library. Browsing in the “just returned” section has brought books to my attention that I would never have read otherwise. Charlaine Harris’s “Grave” series was one of those finds. It’s completely out of my genre because I don’t read crime (ordinarily) – but I liked the cover, picked it up, enjoyed the first few pages, took it home and fell in love.
I’ve checked it out of the library about half a dozen times, so with Christmas book tokens this year I finally bought my own copy, and it’s now on my (overflowing) “keeper” shelves.
There are so many other happy discoveries made through my library it would be worth my taxes just for that.
So that’s why I love my local library – do you love yours? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.