Book Blogging has the potential to be a really expensive hobby. If you buy all your books, you could be spending upwards of $500 a year (estimating $10 a book x reading a book a week [52 weeks]= $520]. Thankfully, we live in a time where libraries are pretty abundant. I’m hoping as a book blogger you’re making good use of your library resources!
I’ve worked in a library for 2 years now so I thought I might share some of my tips on how to get the most of your library experience.
Physical books are still one of the most prominent features in libraries. No matter the size, public libraries purchase many of the ‘big’, best seller books. This should get you covered for many of the highly featured and coveted books in the book blogging world. Many libraries have a budget to buy books that are requested by patrons. Feel free to suggest purchases if they don’t own a book you’re interested in reading. With as many books that are published each week, it’s really easy to gloss over books. Use common sense with your suggesting though. 10+ suggestions a week is a bit excessive.
Did you know many libraries are able to get books they don’t own for you? Yes, most libraries across the US participate in Interlibrary Loans. That means if your library doesn’t own a book (and it isn’t on order), they can send out a request to libraries that do own the book to see if they will loan it to you. For most books, the fee is pretty low ($0-5). If you’re interested in rare, special books, you may need to pay a bit more. The biggest conditions you need to remember are it takes a while to get the book because it’s being shipped from somewhere else and the checkout time isn’t flexible. ILLs are also super helpful if you ever get stuck with a weird subject for school and you can’t find books at your library.
Many libraries are getting involved with eBooks. eBook circulation is definitely on the rise. I know our collection has grown wonderfully over the past 3 years. Many books are both in our physical and eBook collections. That’s fantastic if you’re anxious to read a particular title. You can put yourself on both hold lists and see which book turns up first for you! Then there’s the fact that not everyone is up to date with eBooks. Sometimes you get a very popular book with little wait time.
I know eNovellas get on some people’s nerves. Who wants to pay $0.99-$2.99 for short little story? Check out your libraries eBook collection! Ours has many of the ones out there. If your library doesn’t own the one you want, suggest it as a purchase.
You’re not limited to being a member of only one library. Take a look at the policies of the libraries around you. Many times you can gain membership if you live in the same county or sometimes the same state as the library. That’s obviously a huge help for those people who live in small communities.
Some libraries allow out of state people get library cards for a fee. The Free Library of Philadelphia is one example where you can pay a yearly fee of $50 to get access to all of their digital materials.
eBooks aren’t the only digital resources libraries provide. Digital magazines and streaming video services are some of the new trends being offered at some libraries. There are also many research tools provided as well. One of the more fun resources I’ve discovered is NoveList. It’s a great way to discover new books. You’re able to look up books based on theme, content, setting, mood, location, writing style, and many other ways. It has the potential to be hugely valuable to anyone who likes finding readalikes or making book lists.
Buying books from a library?! Yes, some libraries have books to sell. Many of the times when people donate books to the library, the library isn’t able to add the books to the collection because of condition or policies restrict what is able to be added. Those books often times are sold where the funds go to benefit the library. Often times the books are incredibly cheap ($.25-$2). Don’t be afraid to dig around. It may appear to be someone’s collection of Harlequin romance novels but often times there are modern and interesting books in there as well.
Book events largely depend on the types of community you live in. Bigger cities are more likely to have author talks or similar book events going on. Smaller communities can have those type of events going on as well. You might be able to find a book club that appeals to you. Many events don’t require you to be a member to attend. If you are willing to drive, you might be able to find more interesting events going on in the cities around you.