Friday 1 April 2022

Free library book reservations have finally come to an end

Since libraries reopened after lockdown in summer 2020 I've been a regular visitor. I've used libraries my whole life, as well as working in one for a couple of years, but recently I had been turning more to my Kindle. I mainly downloaded the free classics - my early lockdown reading was the entire Anne of Green Gables series.

When the library first opened it wasn't possible to actually go in and browse. Instead I was intrigued to see that they would put together a bag of books for you to collect based on a form submitted with your reading preferences. I asked for recently published books by female authors, and I loved my selection.  It reminded me that brilliant new books are constantly being published, and that the library offers such a great choice of reading material.

Selection of library books

At the same time they introduced free reservations for adult books and it has been amazing. I had never reserved books from the library before, because I read books very quickly and I'm wary of spending money to reserve a book that I may not like. So I really jumped on this opportunity.

I started following bookish accounts on YouTube and picked up reading recommendations from there. If I ever saw a book recommended or being talked about on social media I would add it to the list, and I took on recommendations from families and friends. At one point I had fifteen books in my reservation queue.

This meant that I was visiting the local library regularly, sometimes more than once a week, to pick up the books that I had reserved. I had lovely chats with the librarian, and then when libraries eventually reopened again for browsing I usually came home with another book or four.

I knew that this couldn't last forever, and it has lasted longer than I thought that it would! But I'll still be making the effort to visit the library regularly. My local village library is only ten minutes walk from my house, and although small it has a good selection of recently published books. The huge library in Worthing is just opposite the school so I can easily park up a few minutes early and pop in, and they have an enormous selection of books to choose from.

Even though I'm sad that the free reservations have ended I'm also happy, because it has reminded me just how great libraries are. I love browsing for books and I can always find a pile to bring home. Having access to free books means that I'm more likely to take a chance on a book that I'm not sure about, and it doesn't matter if I don't get on with it. I'm such a fast reader that if I had to buy every book that I read it would cost me a fortune. Libraries really are fantastic!

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