Right at the very end of August, I decided to join my local library again. I’d just popped into WHSmith to peruse the bestsellers shelf and after noting down at least seven titles on my phone, something clicked and a library membership made so much sense.
If you were to ask my parents about their firstborn child, I guarantee that they’d tell you I’m a bookworm. Ever since my tiniest years, I’ve been literary-obsessed. I can even remember a time when I’d carry a fabric ‘book’ around with me, one of those soft toys for toddlers with the most basic A-Z notations inside. And I remember fondly reading The Magic Key series in primary school, rushing to get my hands on Funnybones before anybody else, eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Animal Ark books and trading Sweet Valley High books with my friendship group. Of course soon after I’d discover Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, an unassuming deep red tome lying in a stack in our local Tesco, a book that I’d come to read time and time again, hiding behind a curtain in my room, sat on my windowsill.
In fact, I’ve always loved reading and it grew to surpass books and enter the realms of magazines (hence my dream of becoming a journalist, quickly extinguished by the state of British media), blogs, heck, even the labels on my Aesop skincare. Yet somewhere down the line, I stopped reading so regularly, stopped being able to squeeze it into my daily routine.
Joining a library has been one of the best choices yet in 2017, and here’s why:
It’s completely free!*
A library membership is free yet allows you access to hundreds of books, magazines, archived documents, DVDs, Internet access and more, making it quite easily one of the most economical subscriptions you could get. You quite literally have nothing to lose and longer loan times nowadays mean that you’re at complete leisure to enjoy your new reads until you’re done.
* Of course, charges often apply for book requests and overdue fines.
It allows you to experiment across genres
One of my favourite things about the library is how much more experimental I am with my choices of titles. I always find that when you’re spending an average of £7 on a new novel, you gravitate towards titles that you know you’ll like, whereas the past month has seen me pick up books and try them ‘just because’. I can’t bloody wait to make my way through the Crime section of my library!
It contributes to saving British libraries
Can you believe that libraries are somewhat endangered?! Less and less people are reading hence a slower footfall and libraries closing down left, right and centre. Some of my earliest memories are of popping to the library with my Mum and picking out 5 books for the fortnight. In fact I won a summer reading competition once when I was about 5 and it was my greatest achievement! I couldn’t imagine little ones growing up without some of those memories.
Save yourself a little shelf space
Last but not least, if like me you’re seriously struggling to cram more books into your IKEA Billy bookcase, a library membership is your safety blanket. I’m really enjoying being a little selfish and reckless with the number of books I have on the go, safe in the knowledge that I’m not risking my bedroom floor caving in! And if by chance I come across a book that I’d desperately like to keep forevermore, I can pop out and do just that.
Are you signed up to your local library? And pray tell, what are you currently reading?!