Thursday, 14 August 2014

Libraries: Wins and Woes

Ah, libraries.  A sanctuary for many booklovers around the world.  I personally love my local library.  In fact, I don't know what I would do without it.  However, over the years, I have discovered a few things about it that get on my nerves.  Of course, I'm not blaming the library for them (as the issues I have are mostly out of their hands), but I still get annoyed :P 

My library is better than most.  And I'm not just saying that.  For starters, any book that I want, I can put on hold.  All I have to do is go onto the website and search for it.  It doesn't even matter if the book is in my local library or somewhere in one of the branch libraries.  I have borrowed books  that are located hours away from my home.  Once I put them on hold online, it tells me where I am in the queue (how many people got there first that I have to wait for) and lets me know when the book arrives at my selected library.  I also get a phone call to let me know.

Another thing I love is that my library has DVDs.  When I started watching Teen Wolf, I got the whole second season out on DVD from the library and marathon-ed it.  The discs weren't even scratched!

I can also put books on hold before their release date.  I'm currently waiting for Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and I got Panic by Lauren Oliver earlier in the year through this method.

My library also takes requests for books - if they don't have it, they'll buy it.

Considering I don't often buy books, the library is my source of most things that I read and I have no idea how I would read without it.

Now I feel like I shouldn't complain, but I can't help myself...

Often, when I'm in a queue for a book, I don't know how long it's going to take to get to me.  For example, I have had to wait MONTHS for previous books in the Lux series when I've only been 4th in the queue (I've made a "waiting-for-library" shelf on my Goodreads specifically for these circumstances).  Other books, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower only took a few days for the library to get to me when I'm something like 25th in line!  This bothers me, because if I think one book is going to take ages, I put more and more on hold, hoping their arrivals will be staggered so that I can read them in time for their due date.  This rarely happens exactly like I plan it, obviously.  But I don't learn!

Another thing that bothers me is that sometimes the quality of the book I get lent isn't in the best quality.  Most recently, I had to put down The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima because the copy was...well, gross.  Like, there was A LOT of hair caught in the pages.

Pet hair.


The last thing I'm going to discuss is the physical borrowing system in the library itself.  In the past, you would take the book you wanted to borrow to the counter and a human librarian would put it on your account.   The same went for returning.  Now, however, they have changed to a self-serve system.  This wouldn't be an issue (hey, I'm all for avoiding human interaction), but my mum and I have an incredible ability to render every machine useless.  That is, we repel technology.  So, every second time I try to use this system, I have to get a librarian to come over because something has gone wrong.  The book is already on hold by someone else (clearly it's not, I'm holding it in my hand, but that still always gives me a moment of panic), the barcode won't scan, it's not accepting my card or it won't print my receipt.  Okay, maybe it's not every second time, but you can see the issue (plus, it totally ruins the point of the aforementioned avoidance of human interaction).

Anyway, the 'wins' of my library certainly outweigh the 'woes'.  What do you think?  Is your local library as good as mine? ;)

This post was brought to you by "I'm Still 10th in the Queue For The Giver" and "Opposition is Taking A Long Time to Get to Me."

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