General Question

mee_ouch's avatar

Does anybody visit the public library anymore?

Asked by mee_ouch (656points) August 12th, 2008

When internet access affords us many choices, two of which are ‘easy access’ and ‘easy answers’, do you still utilize the services of your local library?

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47 Answers

Randy's avatar

Not me. I’ve like you said got the internet and a few select book stores that I use. Then again, I’m not much for borrowing.

shrubbery's avatar

Me, me, I do I do! I love the library :)
I don’t go as often as I did when I was younger, I admit, because really there’s not a huge/great range of books for young adult or fantasy and it’s just as easy for me to buy the books at the bookstore but yes I still go for a browse and some peace and quiet, or if I’m in town with time to spare, that’s where I generally head.

mee_ouch's avatar

Randy & Shrubs….
Two honest and individual answers to a question that’s been on my mind for awhile now.
Kudos to you both.

cheebdragon's avatar

I use to live right next to a library, I only went in it 3–4 times in 5 years….actually I didn’t go in it at all the first 3 years I lived there LOL

cheebdragon's avatar

they had a big collection of movies and cd’s that you could rent for $1 but you had to return them in 24 hours.
I would have rented some stuff but
I couldn’t get a library card because a roommate of mine had outstanding charges…

Magnus's avatar

What is that? Like a video rental store for books?

BirdlegLeft's avatar

My two boys love the library. You should see the mound of books they drag home. My wife takes every couple of weeks.

jasongarrett's avatar

Libraries are great if you have children. My wife takes our kids to story time every week, and our living room is strewn with borrowed books.

mee_ouch's avatar

cheebs…both funny and tactful
Magnus….see above
BLL and JG…Ahhh, the magical world of boys…Does the library know something we don’t when it comes to keeping boys quiet? Mine loved story time as well.

cheebdragon's avatar

the books were free to rent (as long as you brought them back on time) but the movies (regular movies and lots of documentary/educational movies) and the cd’s were $1 to rent…..

syz's avatar

I do, I do!!

tedibear's avatar

I still use the library because I love to read. I own many books and need to be careful how I spend my money. The library lets me indulge my reading passion without spending too much. It’s a wonderful place!

mee_ouch's avatar

syz….love your enthusiasm
tedibear….love your passion…

cheebs…love your answers.

Larssenabdo's avatar

Oh yeah. Lots of people do. The electronic versions will not fill the bill for those of us who love books, as well as loving to read. The feel and fragrance of the pages, the weight of the book in my hands; a book is organic, a warm physical presence which sits with me. I hope there will always be books and libraries.

mee_ouch's avatar

Beautiful answer Larssenabdo….just beautiful.
I feel just as you do!

EmpressPixie's avatar

I do, I go all the time. I love the feeling of being in the library, the ease of sifting through the shelves of books that I know I’ll enjoy reading, and the free-ness of bringing the books home. I read books like some people watch TV – all the time, quickly, and ravenously. I would not be able to afford my book habit, but with the public library it is freeeeee. Plus my library does some really great programming. I love it!

lapilofu's avatar

I go to the library almost every week, and I constantly have a stack of books checked out from there. I adore the internet—hey, I practically live here—but you can’t (yet) get most books on the internet. And reading paper is just easier on the eyes anyway. Owning books is nice, but I prefer to buy them after I’ve read them and decided I’d like to keep them around. I’m not made of money.

The library—if it’s a good one—can also be an immense research tool. Sure, you can Google search things, but nothing beats having a smart and well trained librarian pointing you at precisely the books and articles you need.

(However, by way of full disclosure, I don’t go to the public library as often as my college library. But I’m sure that’s not what you were asking.)

McBean's avatar

You bet I do! In fact, I’m such a nerd, that I’ve got my library card number memorized! I access my library’s Web site, request the books that I want (checking their reviews, all the while, on and head on in once they’ve notified me that my books have arrived. When I get to the library, I have the option of either just walking in and grabbing my selection off the shelf – where they’re all bundled up with my own secret code taped onto them, or roaming the stacks to see what else I want.

When I do wander the stacks, it’s like binge shopping. I throw books into my cart if they look even remotely interested, knowing that I never have to regret the “purchase”. I often have up to 30 books and books on CD (for the SoCal commutes) out at one time: Fiction, non-fiction, kids’ books, coffee table books, documentaries on DVD…you name it.

In the event that we get caught up in life and miss the return date, we just have to wait ‘till the last Friday of the month when we can turn them in with immunity from fines. My library calls it “Library Happy Hour”, though it lasts all day.

Of course, I still buy way too many books, too. But the library is, indeed, my friend. :-)

Anaphase's avatar

I went yesterday.

It sucked.

DandyDear711's avatar

We three go all the time. They have had to add a parking lot to ours and are planning a big addition. With these economic hard times, libraries are see a huge increase in activity.

sdeutsch's avatar

I love going to libraries – just being surrounded by so many books, and having a nice, quiet place to enjoy them – libraries are wonderful!

I used to go all the time, but over the years I’ve found it harder and harder to give the books back when I’m done with them, so I find myself buying books more than borrowing them now. I still love to just go hang out in the library for an afternoon, though – it’s so peaceful!

Kar's avatar

Absolutely! I’m reading all the time, so it’s a great place to get free books – I’d go broke if I didn’t. Also, as others have said, it’s great for kids, who can go through a book in 5 minutes!

gailcalled's avatar

Almost the first thing I do when I have relocated is to find the library and get a card. I go at least twice a week and order books and books on CDs from a wonderful interlibrary loan system that covers four counties. I bump into dozens of friends there, with and without children. I have been to lectures on Genealogy, readings by local authors, etc.
There are always parking places and everyone knows my name.

i also read the local papers, many magazines and the NYT – cheaper and no recycling.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

I do I love to.

MacBean's avatar

I hate the library because you have to give the books back. But I do still use it because I can’t afford to buy everything I want to read. Sometimes I download e-books and audio books, but there’s really nothing like curling up in bed with a good read, and the internet doesn’t help with that.

eadinad's avatar

Me! I just got back from the library, in fact. I read about 3 – 4 books a month, and as a student I certainly can’t afford to pay for them. I love the library.

Actually I’m a librarian too, hah. Though I usually don’t rent as much from the library at which I actually work.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

@ MacBean Yeah I hate to give books back too. I think that is the only bad part of a library.

generalspecific's avatar

I go to the library :)
buying books costs way too much and reading on the internet.. bahh i just don’t like it. it’s just not the same, and gives me a headache. but after i read the book, if i really dig it then i usually buy it, read it again, and highlight the parts i liked.

mee_ouch's avatar

Thank you all so much for your responses. It’s refreshing to know that certain public services are still in use. I’m quite overwhelmed, to be perfectly honest, at the myriad of answsers and the value at which you all place on what seems to belong to a bygone era. Obviously, there is nothing ‘bygone’ about the public library for all of you here. Thank you all again for your quick and valuable responses!

gailcalled's avatar

Additionally, I give money to their fund drive yearly. It is a precious asset in a community that has antique fire engines in the July 4th parade and sheep shearing at the Labor Day Fair.

tinyfaery's avatar

Me! They love me; I always owe them money for returning things late.

augustlan's avatar

We go often…I could never afford to buy all the books my children and I read! It’s also a good place to buy used children’s books. Another favorite place is the used book store in our town (Wonder Book and Video). It’s one of the largest internet sellers of out of print, rare and common used books…but we’re lucky enough to go to it’s physical location & browse to our heart’s content.

augustlan's avatar

@tiny: Me, too I’m always late

McBean's avatar

I confess, that before San Diego County Libraries instituted Happy Hour (turn in books the last Friday of each month – no matter how late – and escape late fines), I probably paid enough late fines to build them a new wing. I still have to pay for the occasional book that my son takes to disappear into the black hole of his dad’s house, but Happy Hour has sure made me happy.

augustlan's avatar

@McB: I wish our system had Happy Hour!

mee_ouch's avatar

As I read all of these posts, I sense a similarity to all. As diverse and personal as these accounts may be, they all reflect on the love, heart, happiness, giving etc..that your experiences, both past and present have brought to you.

Technological advances will continue as the human race edges further into the future. A future that for all intents and purposes will continue to generate torrents of information; available to 90% of the industrialized world. A frightening concept on it’s own. Perhaps that is why we seek solace in a place such as the library. Not simply for the information it provides, it certainly can’t compete with the internet. What it affords us as humans is a familiarity. A place we know. A place we can feel free to communicate. A place to see and be seen. Feel the subjects jumping from the pages. Fantasize about knights and dragons, princes and princesses. The internet cannot do that.

This much is true, the internet is here to stay. But let’s hope it doesn’t turn us all into agoraphobes. Go to the library. Relive the splendour that is palpable in a book.

bridold's avatar

I used to live near a really great library and I would go any chance I got.

The library that is closest to where I live now doesn’t have the same atmosphere. I’m forced to go to Barnes and Noble – only problem being I spend more money there..

mee_ouch's avatar

bridold….I suppose it’s the only alternative for some of us. I have noticed how ‘reader’ friendly the ‘big box’ book emporiums are these days. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. And it’s certainly profitable for them as well. Nothing wrong with adding a “mom ‘n pop” element whatsoever…..but, there’s no comprison to the real thing.

Two of the greatest experiences I’ve ever known was when I spent an entire day (seperately, of course) at the Smithsonian and The New York Public Library.
To say that I was awestruck would be an understatement.

cheebdragon's avatar

OMG the Smithsonian is the best place ever!!!

augustlan's avatar

@The Smithsonian lovers: I was lucky enough to grow up right outside Washington, DC… I went to every museum (arts/science/natural history/etc) and many historic and politically relevent locations on school field trips and day trips with family. I never realized how lucky I was until I was an adult. I could never understand why people would vacation in my own backyard.

mee_ouch's avatar

It’s amazing what we took for granted growing up. I’d love to relive some of those days…I suppose I do, in my mind. I hope to get back there in this life…
I hope the following generations don’t f*ck with some of the beauty that is still there for them…..

McBean's avatar

I used to love the smell of the old library of my childhood. It must have been the library paste and the musty old books, but – also – the building itself. And it felt as though it were a huge secret vault loaded with treasure. Corny, I know, but as a child I thought it was the most amazing place. Then the city (Tucson, AZ) decided to spring for a brand new giant stone, steel, and glass building to house the books at its main branch. Sure, it’s a fabulous building, but the ambiance is forever gone.

mee_ouch's avatar

Crying shame….......

tedibear's avatar

@McBean – That happened in my hometown as well as at my college. The town library used to be in an old church and it was a wonderful place. I knew where everything was and loved it all. My college had an old building too with lots of nooks and crannies and places to hide. The new building is huge and open and its only interesting feature is the spiral staircase that goes through the center of it. sigh

gailcalled's avatar

My library. There are original stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and an underground connection to the local Middle School. Bliss.

sdeutsch's avatar

Oooh, gail, I’m jealous – this is the library I grew up with in Pittsburgh – it’s a huge building with gorgeous architecture (marble staircases, big stone columns, huge windows to sit in), and it’s attached to the natural history and art museums. I used to love spending rainy days just wandering through the whole building, going back and forth between the books and the art and the dinosaur bones. Heaven!

Sadly, our library in Alameda, where we live now, is a shiny new steel and glass thing – it’s nice enough to go and get books from, but doesn’t make you want to spend the day there…

speechie4eva's avatar

sometimes you just can’t get online what you can in a library in my opinion. I have to do a lot of research fort speech competitions and a lot of times the Internet just doesn’t get me what I need.

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