Friday, 31 March 2017

Chuckles Chat #10: The Library

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm looking at our relationship with our local library.

As a kid I spent most of my summer holidays at the library, or reading the books I got at the library. I would trot round, trying to find something I hadn't tried yet and go home with my three books which I would binge read, and I'd be back a few days later. The staff all knew me by name and had recommendations for me. I would read Enid Blyton's child detectives, anything with a horse in it and any story I just liked the sound of. My best day was when I turned twelve and with my dad's permission, I was presented with my adult library card and off to the horror shelves I went to try some Stephen King! Never did I go back to the kids library after that!

Now I never go go the library. The service lags way behind what I would want and to be honest the staff are not very good nor is the book choice. The last time I used the library regularly was when I first discovered Goodreads and the phrase 'urban fantasy'. I had been looking for books about vampires and werewolves and this Goodreads link kept coming up so I investigated and took note of popular authors on the list. Armed with this I went to the library and found Kelley Armstrong (WOTO #2 Stolen) and Charlaine Harris (Southern Vampire #2 Living Dead in Dallas). It wasn't ideal not getting book ones but I had to take what they had and loved book books. But they were all I could get in up to date horror and UF. The rest of the shelves just had Stephen King, Dean Koontz etc. Last time I checked, the horror section had the same 30 books plus Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box and that was THE newest one. That was three years ago.

Anyway, the day I was UF hunting, the women working there indicated that they hadn't got anything in beyond book #2 for each despite them being popular and if I wanted to order them from another library it would be £1.50 per book minimum and a 2 month wait. Considering that they also had nothing of the other 15 authors I wanted to try, I kind of gave up and hit Waterstones the next day, treating myself to the two book ones, Jeaniene Frost, Carrie Vaughn, Jennifer Estep and Rob Thurman from my list. After that I started snapping up more in each series and finding ones I hadn't heard of like Christina Henry, DD Barant, Kelly Meding and lots of others. UF became my new obsession and when I opened an Amazon account, the books just flowed.

I'd meander into the library occasionally after that to browse and maybe grab a new Joe Hill or Stephen King or something, which they did get in. But after reading them and handing them back in, I was getting letters saying the books were overdue and fining me for it. Irate, I headed round to the library and told the women I had left them on the part of the counter you were asked to leave them-the 'checking in' bit, ready for the women to y'know, do their job and check them in. I had handed them in three months earlier. Tutting, the head librarian who obviously didn't believe me, went off to check the shelves and came back red faced admitting the books were sitting there and that someone shelved them without checking them in. I couldn't resist telling her 'so I haven't stolen them then'. Then came the grovelling apology. But what if those books had been stolen by someone who saw them waiting to be checked in? I was noted as being the last borrower so I was getting blamed!  The next twice I borrowed books the same thing happened-I was accused of keeping overdue books, threatened with fines and the women found the books on the shelves and had to say sorry. That isn't good enough people! Your main job in a library is checking books in and out! Do your dang job already!

I did use the library for their computers on occasion and they were so slow. We had to pay for each computer session and most of the time I was sitting waiting for pages to load. And of course they had content blockers to stop you looking up porn but every second thing you looked at froze up the screen with flashing yellow banners screaming ILLEGAL!!! and you had to get the librarian to unlock it and fill in a paper report of who you are and what site you tried to view. I felt like a criminal. People would stare at me from their computer as if I was a pervert! After having this happen ten times in twenty minutes, I gave up and started saving up for my own computer again!

You can understand why I get so jealous when I hear people in the US talk about their great two storey libraries and how they just walk in and come out with 15 brand new releases to take home. *sulks* Our local libraries just don't measure up to that and with all these new budget cuts I can't see things getting any better. I think these libraries will be closed in ten years time if they cannot attract customers back. When I think back to those happy summer days as a kid, I find it kind of sad that I no longer use the place.

Is your library good or poor? What services do they offer and which do you pay for? Are you a regular user? Are the newest books usually available? Are the staff good? Do you have any library horror stories? 

22 comments:

  1. Awesome post, and I can definitely relate. My library has such a poor selection of books and the service is so disappointing - most of the time I'm too afraid to ask a librarian for help because they always look so bored and lazy and like they don't care.
    I always get jealous when I hear of other people's amazing libraries!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's depressing to be somewhere where the libraries aren't great isn't it?! I really do rely on Amazon for my books at the moment. I dread to think what would happen if I lost my internet...*shudders*

      Delete
  2. Oh mu gosh, now I know why you don't use libraries. I don't blame you. What awful experiences. I LOVED the library as a kid. I think I started checking out adult books about the same age as you. I kind of have a fond place in my heart for libraries. I love my Mom so please don't misinterpret, but when I was a kid, young adult, let's just say she had some extra curricular activities which didn't/couldn't include dad. She couldn't take me with her but had to make him think I was so she'd drop me off at the library for hours on end. Yes, I had a messed up childhood. However, it garnered my love for the place in general.

    I have three libraries in my town. Two are "connected" and one is on a separate system so I love visiting at least two semi-regularly. They have great new releases and whenever I've requested a book, they've always ordered it for their collection or done an intra-library loan from any library in the state. All of these for no fee. Plus they have awesome sales twice a year.

    So sorry you have such a crappy system!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gah! I love the sound of your libraries! Not having to pay to get the books requested would be great. When the local library has a sale here it is the Mills & Boon/Harlequin type romances and all the damaged books that are falling apart! I can't remember the last time I got a book in decent condition that I wanted to read from one of their sales.

      Getting that first adult book checked out is a defining moment in our reading isn't it! It sounds as if your mum took you to the right place and look at your reading now...

      Delete
  3. I am so sorry that your library experiences are not enjoyable. It makes me feel bad for what I am about to say :-/

    We have a fantastic system here in the city where I live made up of maybe 12 libraries in the city. We can request books from all over the city to be sent to a particular branch and I love that - I don't have to go traipsing all over the city to get what I want. I use the library much more heavily in the summer time with my daughter, as we can go every day if we want (I am a teacher so time is much more limited during the school year). We too have the option of InterLibrary Loan for books that our system does not carry. We can request books from all over the country with that service, though timing depends on the lending library and we pay shipping cost which for me has never been more than $3. There are also tons of great children's events and we go to story time and all that. I can't imagine not going to the library! Come to the US, our librarians are wonderful - my daughter and I are at our favorite branch so often that they know us my name and think nothing of it when she goes running off in between the stacks, and one of them will usually help me wrangle her, haha (She is 3 1/2).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't feel bad Sarah! It's good that some places do have good library services. I just wish they would do that here! They recently turned one half of the library into a toddlers play area and the NOISE when you walk by is horrifying! I can't imagine anyone wanting to try and sit and read in there!

      It sounds like you have plenty of libraries to choose from. Getting them sent to one near you is of course nice and handy. It's interesting that some of you pay to get requests sent and others don't. Different rules in different states I guess. We do have a library in the town centre which is bigger but because it is across the street from the University, most of the books are non fiction. They also only have a small horror section and no urban fantasy. When I asked where the zombie books were I just got a dirty look!

      Delete
  4. That...that's horrible! I live in a rural county yet our library is still pretty amazing. I can't say much for what recommendations I would get from the staff but I do know there are more than 30 horror titles and more UF than I could ever read. Plus the computers are free to use(though I don't they are pretty much always in use). AND they have a huge digital collection; both ebook and audio though the selection is much more spotty.

    We are pretty lucky it is true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *whimpers* I love the sound of that UF section! I'd be in there all the time. I used to use the computer once a week in the library for an hour but by the time I replied to my emails time was up! So much better having one in the home! It sounds like a decent library you have there.

      Delete
  5. oh too bad you don't go to your library that often anymore. but I can understand why! Sometimes I do encounter the situation where I cannot continue with a series but not really often. I do have to say we are blessed in the state I live with a great network of libraries where I can find pretty much anything. My kids and I go the the local library often. We love it there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's great that your country is serious about getting kids to love their library and providing a great service to adults as well. That's the way it should be everywhere!

      Delete
  6. I can relate. I used the library as a teen, but I don’t use it as an adult. It’s crowded and doesn’t have a great selection of books. Used bookstores are like libraries to me. I keep the books I like and trade the ones I don’t.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have one used bookstore in my town and a ton of charity shops but the shelves all seem to be filled with celebrity biographies, kids books, romance, crime and contemporary. You don't get apocalypse, modern horror and zombies! I have to get all my reads in those genres from Amazon which does cost money.

      Delete
  7. Yikes, it does sound like your library has some organization problems with the checking in thing. But haha, I'm cracking up at your issues with trying to visit sites and how you felt like a criminal.

    I used to go to the library some as a kid, but idk, I kinda stopped at some point. And I never knew the librarians or anything. There wasn't, like, a homey feel for me at the library. More recently I've started borrowing ebooks. I even have a mention in my upcoming weekly update about how much I'm loving my librarian or whoever buys the ebooks since they've actually been listening to my requests for books, so idk what the library is like for physical books, but I can't complain about how they're are with ebooks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I have my own computer now! Those were grim days! I can't imagine going back to doing that, I really can't! It sounds like your library is doing well on the ebooks. I haven't been inside the library in a long time so I don't know if they do ebooks and audio books. I imagine choice would be limited as the building is small.

      Delete
  8. I am sorry that your library hasn't been great. I love the library. They have great children's programs that I made sure my kids were able to go to. The book selection is also wonderful and I love the ebooks they have. Right now my library that I pass daily is closed and under construction which makes me very sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds as if your library is really good Carole. Maybe when it reopens it will be even better. I don't know what I would have done if the library was closed when I was a kid! I almost lived there!

      Delete
  9. I hardly physically go to the library anymore these days. The last time I went was probably almost a year ago, and that was to get my library card renewed. It's important for me to keep it up to date, because I do use my library's online resources heavily, especially their overdrive audiobook/ebook collection!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see that a lot of people are using ebook and audiobook services! Not sure what my library offers on that side of things. I think they do an online service but I've never tried it.

      Delete
  10. I can totally relate to your grumbles about libraries, although here for different reasons. I always hear US people saying how great their libraries are. Here we have to pay for library membership when you get eighteen and our closets library also charges per book. Really it's almost not worth it, just to lend a book. I rather pay to have the book so at least I can keep it as long as I want and I have my own copy. Then there is the fact that I live in the Netherlands and most books here are dutch. I only read english books nowadays. Maybe it has changed since the last time I went, but I never really was impressed with the libraries. As a kid I did love the library and got lots of books from there. We had a free library card then and once every few weeks I went to the library to get some new books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's even worse than the UK! It really wouldn't be worth joining under those circumstances. I actually prefer having my own copy of the book so I can keep it if I like it. It also means that I can trade it or bookcross it or give it to a friend or charity shop when I finish with it.

      Delete
  11. I like libraries but I never go. The closest one is nice but small and their selection is limited. The bigger one a smidge farther away has a LOT more, and it's nice, but I don't know... I just usually buy my books. Maybe it's a waste of money but most of the books I buy are ebooks, and if I really like it I buy it for my shelf. But I have read a few library books so far this year, trying to use them more...

    I hear you though, a library w/ poor service and bad selection is very frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like buying books! I mean, I've pretty much had to buy them to keep up with zombies, apocalypses and Indie books, but now I probably would stick to that even if the library shaped up and stocked my favourites. Buying them lets me read then when I want and not having pesky deadlines! I do try to get them on ereader first if the books are cheap and I'll buy what I enjoyed-if not cheap ebooks I splurge!

      Delete