Friday, January 13, 2017

End of a Streak

Today while looking over the list of books I read in 2016, I realized that I didn't read a single library book last year. Not one. My sister took me to the bookmobile for the first time in the fall of 1959, and I'm fairly certain I read at least a few library books every year since then. But now, all my library cards are expired, and with all the books I own, both print and e-books, it's entirely possible I'll never read a library book again. Which is kind of sad.

13 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Wow. I've been going to the library and reading library books since I was old enough to walk. When I lived in Corsicana, I was a library member. Same in Austin and Brownwood. Not in Denton, but I read books from the University Library. That's where I checked out RED HARVEST. I went to the library here in Alvin yesterday and picked up a book, and today I went and picked up a DVD. I'll probably be visiting the library as long as I'm able.

Rick Ollerman said...

I lived in the library when I was a kid but then I got to the point where for whatever reason I wanted to keep the books I read, as well as buy books and read them later without feeling like I was on the clock. I donate to the library, have volunteered at the library, my two kids are patrons, and my daughter is even tutoring reading skills to younger children. But I just can't check out books anymore. Part of my bibliomania is not reading books I don't own.

That makes reading expensive and it nearly kills me when I have to read an e-book for availability reasons. Are there others out there like me? Who love libraries but don't personally use them? Is there a support group for us?

Scott Parker said...

I have a card for both city and county library. But if you prefer ebooks now, find the Overdrive app or the Hoopla app. Both are keyed with local libraries and you ca start a new streak.

James Reasoner said...

As recently as 2009, I read 43 library books that year, and 28 in 2011. Yes, I keep track of such things. But after that the number fell off to 10 or 12, then 2 in 2015 and none in 2016. I have such great memories involving libraries that since putting up this post earlier I've started thinking that maybe I ought to get my card at the local public library renewed and read a book or two a year from there, at least. If I had realized last year that I hadn't read any library books, I probably would have done that just to keep the streak alive.

Walker Martin said...

Rick, I'm the same way. I want to own the book rather than read a library copy. I'm a firm believer in building up personal libraries which I have done for not only books but also pulps, dvds, music cds, etc. When I look at a book in my house, I see a history of when I bought it, read it, and what I was doing at that time of my life.

Bibliomania is a great thing and the only vice that doesn't harm you.

James Reasoner said...

Walker,
Considering how many stacks of books I've had topple over, I'm not sure but what bibliomania has its own dangers. Luckily, none of them have landed on me so far . . .

Chap O'Keefe said...

Seems the same goes for many of us who follow Rough Edges, James. I started reading library books early by borrowing my older sister's membership card before I reached the age to have my own library card. Later, I persuaded my father to obtain a library card so I could use it to borrow books from the library's adult section, beginning with the Saint series by Leslie Charteris. Like others, I'm not sure when, why or how I stopped borrowing from the public library, but it was probably around eight years ago. I still do sometimes buy libraries' withdrawn books, usually when I'm away on holiday trips, but even that happens less often when you have an e-reader with you. Many New Zealand libraries seem to sell off fiction within five years of purchase. The retirement village where I've been living for the past 14 months has its own library and I've borrowed a few books from that. I've also donated it some Westerns and other genre fiction.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Not me. I've been going to the library since before we moved to Brooklyn when I was 9, when all we had was the weekly bookmobile that came to our area of Queens. I would rather read a library book and be on the clock, so to speak, than buy a book that might sit on the shelf for years while I work my way to it. If it is an author I collect, that's different, but for a new book I want to read NOW, I'll take the library book every time. And as Scott said, more and more library books are available to download these days. In fact, sometimes they are the only version available. Last year, 53 of the 150 books I read were ebooks, and nearly half of those (25) were library books.

Charles Gramlich said...

I read very few library books now either. I do so much writing about my books that I usually need a copy on hand for work.

Rick Ollerman said...

Other than the risk of stack toppling, I am very much with Walker. I just don't have as many pulps....

Richard Robinson said...

James, back up the bus. Go get that card renewed this weekend, check out any book that looks appealing, read it, start a new streak.

I started reading library books from the time I could read, and have read at least a few a year ever since. Now I have a card for each of the three counties that intersect near our home, and check out books from them all. We check out more books than we buy, though there's no shortage of books here in the house. I'm particularly glad I've used the library when I check out a book that turns out not to be very good, and I haven't spent a dime for it.

Keith West said...

I used to go to the library all the time when I was a kid, but sometime around when I was finishing graduate school, I stopped except for things related to school. Most of the libraries I've been in don't have what I'm looking for or I've already got what they have. I still pop in from time to time, but I haven't checked out a book in years. And at the pace I'm finishing things nowadays, I would probably rack up tons of fines.

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with Rick, too. For multiple reasons, the ownership of the books has become important to me. This proprietary sense of books coincides with my sense of "professional" reading, as a reviewer, and it overlaps my needs for a lot of really esoteric reading. Sometimes it's not even the reading, but access to quotations and publication info. ... But I purchase a lot of books from libraries, some to give away, and I've used internet access in libraries when I've been on the road. One of my great pleasures as a young reader was to check out books by the wonderful writers Walter Brooks and James Thurber. Our libraries are some of our greatest national resources.

David Laurence Wilson