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Why I Boycotted the Library

Updated on January 11, 2012

Don't get me wrong. I once had a passionate relationship with the local community library, and spent an entire summer volunteering. But then I got distracted, and started slipping. Eventually I stopped showing up at all. Did they call to ask how I was doing, or if I'd be returning? Nope. All they cared about was getting those books back. And the fines kept adding up with interest compounding each day. In my new and innovative ways to avoid communication with the library, I discovered that I really didn't need the library after all!

Free Books Are Everywhere

A trip to the bookstore is a true luxury for my family. Typically we only visit one when blessed with some extra cash or in the fall when purchasing new home school workbooks. Walking out with just a book is a difficult task, especially when exit doors are placed near a barista roasting up something delicious and frothy from freshly-ground coffee beans and steamed milk. Thanks to places like Book Thing, thrift stores, and used bookstores, our family hasn't purchased a book from a corporate bookseller in a very long time.

Cheap Books Are Cheaper Than Library Fines

Local thrift stores offer booth contemporary and classic selections for under $2 each, and the Book Thing of Baltimore, Maryland offers books for free, to everyone, every day! If you're not within driving distance to Baltimore, try downloading e-books for the Kindle. No Kindle? No problem! Amazon not only offers a free version of its Kindle app for both Android devices and personal computers, but it also provides a ton of free books for quick and easy download.

No Snarky, Shushing Librarians

Thanks to restaurant franchises like McDonalds and Panera Bread offering free wifi, I never have to rely on the library for internet service, ever again. Not only are the chairs more comfortable, but my local Panera also has a super cushy love seat, right in front of a fireplace. Both let you drink coffee while using your laptop -- and as all internet junkies know, coffee is an essential part of most online sessions. Time to break for lunch? Work through lunch! Even if you don't want a whole meal, a snack is as close as the ordering counter.

It's safe to say that I will probably never return to my local, public library, ever again. Someone recently asked if I felt bad that my children would grow up not knowing how to use the Dewey Decimal System. Honestly? No. My kids are bright and I'm willing to bet that 90% of America's libraries have some computerized version of the Dewey Decimal System. If they can figure out how to talk to my mother-in-law on Facebook through the television set, I'm sure they can find a book. But chances are, they probably already downloaded it onto their personal computer or picked up a copy at the local thrift shop.

Thanks for stopping by this hub, and happy reading, wherever you find your books!


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  • charlestonreviews profile image

    charlestonreviews 5 years ago from Goose Creek SC (near Charleston)

    As everything else touched by progress, the library is, in many ways, a dinosaur. But, it's still a great place to borrow a new book by your favorite author because you don't want to spend the cash to buy the book.

  • lostinmusic89 profile image

    lostinmusic89 5 years ago from KCMO

    I work as a page at a library and, while I agree with you about the snarky librarian (my manager goes around snapping at people about "inappropriate" drink containers and all the librarians are downright rude pushing patrons out ten minutes until close), I believe libraries are very useful and very needed. The late fees on the books is all you. It's not that hard to simply return them, most libraries give you a month and a half. And the late fee penalties are very small per day. Since the budgets for libraries are so low and they offer so much, they depend on donations and late fees to stay open.

    Also, libraries don't simply offer books to check out. They offer music, movies, magazines, newspapers, and the endless online references that cover just about everything. Not only that, but the non-check out reference section in even small libraries is outstanding.

    I do admire your support of smaller bookstores, especially used ones. I buy the majority of my books used, except new ones from favorite authors, and actually like the character they have, along with the idea of what person enjoyed the words before me.

  • brielise profile image

    brielise 5 years ago

    The last time I used the public library was high school. I took out a few books for a research project, but between my forgetfulness and the fact that the library is downtown (parallel parking I have to pay for??) I constantly forgot to take the books back. The fines were ridiculous so I just dropped in the return box and never went back. Also, I don't like to read on someone else's time restraints. I can read a lengthy book in a day or two if I want to and if it's that good, but I hate working on a schedule. It's why I rarely finish reading for classes. Anyway, like you, I just go to a thrift store or used book store. They're cheap, convenient, and I can read the books in my own time!

  • LisaKoski profile image

    LisaKoski 5 years ago from WA

    I don't quite agree with the idea of staying away from public libraries but I can see how for some out there they may not be necessary. I used libraries for my books for school all the time and never had to worry about fines because I never had a problem renewing them or bringing them back on time.

    I love going to independent bookstores not only for the price but also to support them before they disappear. This is an interesting topic and you made a lot of strong points.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    I still find the library useful for looking up SOME things...but overall, I like to own my books, for I often read them again and again, and I do not like worrying about due dates--I can read, stop and start again at my leisure.

    I love the feel of a book, and turning the pages..and swore I'd never own an "e-reader." However, I got one for Christmas, and I have to admit, it's winning me over. I can have oh, so many more books than I could ever fit in my home. Storage was becoming a big issue for my collection of books, even though most were small paperbacks. With a wireless connection, I can buy a new book at any time of day or night, whether or not the stores are open.