Why I Love My Library

Agent Michelle Witte started a #librarylove hashtag today on Twitter. I didn’t go back and read the original article she linked to, but the gist of it was that a few–and I stress few–authors felt like people were “stealing” their books by getting them from the library. I’m not going to go into that, but it has inspired me to blog about why I love my library.

I grew up getting books from the library. Frankly, my parents couldn’t afford to buy me new books all the time, and my allowance only took me so far until I was old enough to work. Now that I can afford it, I still use the library quite a bit. If I buy a book, that means I plan to read it more than once, and I often don’t know that until I’ve read something by the author. Now, there are some special cases where I’ve interacted with the author and so I’ll automatically buy their book, but for the most part, I want to read it first.

I’m also someone who prefers paperbacks, so I’ll often get a book from the library and then buy it when it comes out in paperback. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s even better now that I can get quite a few books from the library electronically. What a wonderful resource to get books out to people! Because it’s about more than making money, right?

But, since I love my lists, here are five things I love about the library.

1. It fosters a love of reading. I know this from my own experience, but now that I have kids of my own, I get to see their excitement. They have tons of books at home, but going to the library is a special treat. They can pick out new stories to explore, and for two weeks we read those over and over. We’ve discovered new authors we wanted to buy as a result and new interests for the kids as well.

2. They have great events. My local library (St. Louis County Library) brings a lot of authors to town. I attended an author event this weekend with Ally Carter and Victoria Schwab. I’d read a few of Ally Carter’s books, but I hadn’t read Victoria Schwab. I ended up buying both of their books and waiting in line with at least a hundred teenage girls to get them signed. It’s exciting both to meet authors and see them reaching out to their fans. Our library also has quite a few events targeted at kids, and we’ve taken ours. Lots of fun!

3. It makes books accessible. I’m fortunate in that I can pick and choose what I want to buy versus get from the library, but many people don’t have that option. The library makes books accessible for everyone, and as a writer, I wouldn’t want money to keep someone from reading my books.

4. It’s information central. I’m past my days of research papers, but I still do research for my novels. Even with the internet, there are times I need to go more in-depth, and the library has the resources I need.

5. It helps me become a better writer. Really this goes with points two through four. The library helps me improve–through events, resources, and the ability to read many more books than I would if I had to buy them all. If you’ve read one of my reviews, chances are I got that book from the library, and maybe even bought my own copy later :).

And with that, I have two books reserved that I need to go pick up …