Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.
My family has a summer house out on Long Island. We'd spend every weekend out at that house when I was a kid and, on at least one afternoon of each weekend, we'd head over to the local library. I used to take stacks and stacks of books out of that library. And, if memory serves, it's because of the NYTimes best seller list displayed at that library that my older sister and I first got into HARRY FREAKING POTTER (whatever, NBD, it's not like I obsessed over that series FOREVER). My mother put her name on the hold lists for books 1 and 2, just weeks before book 3 came out. It was magical, whether I got my Hogwarts letter at 11 or not (spoilers: I didn't >.<).
After that, once I entered Middle School, I started going to my school librarians for references. That's when I fell in love with everything Tamora Pierce (MORE MAGIC. MORE). My school library didn't have the best selection, so I took out what I could there and filled in the gaps with some help from my parents and Barnes & Noble. I can't remember why I didn't spend more time at my local library. The New York Public Library has an astoundingly large collection. I guess I was just kind of enamored with the idea of owning all of my books. I didn't want to ever have to give them back, y'know?
For a good, long while after my introduction to Tamora Pierce, I didn't really set foot in a library unless it was for school. But then I spent the summer between sophomore and junior year of college taking summer classes up in Boston. I'd brought a couple of books up to school with me and I'd bought a few more on top of that over the year. Moving everything between apartments at school and back to my home in New York was getting heavy and annoying. Not to mention my roommates that summer were really into the going to the library. So I took my license and a Netflix envelop with my name and address on it to the library and got myself a Boston Public Library card (yet another impressive library collection).
That summer I'd take a couple of books out at the time, but I wasn't as library-addicted as I used to be as a kid. I took out books I knew I didn't care to have my shelf, books that I would read or even just skim and return them. Then, the winter of junior year, I went through a terrible book buying slump. I bought maybe 6 or 7 books in a row and I didn't love any of them. I was so FRUSTRATED. I hated spending money on books I didn't love and then having to either return them or find room for them on my book shelves even though I really didn't feel like they belonged there (I seriously hate both of those things. A LOT).
With this frustration proving a non-stop bother, I started taking more and more books out of the library when I got back to school. And, even though I will always love owning books best, I fell back in love with the library. I would take out books, read 'em, return the ones I didn't totally love and buy the ones I did. It was great. I was saving money, helping library circulation and ultimately supporting authors I truly love. I even started using the library website to help me keep track of my TBR, currently-reading and read lists (I didn't start with Goodreads until a few months ago). And then, when I moved back to New York this past summer, I got myself a library card there and the rest, as they say, is history.
But my full force return to the library isn't just because of my irritation with spending money on books I don't absolutely love. Upon returning to New York, I realized just how much my local libraries were suffering. Blame it on the recession, governmental priorities or whatever else you want, there just isn't enough funding for libraries. Yes, donations help, but it's also about taking books out of the library. That's how the great and wise people who work at libraries know what books are popular, what types of books to acquire for the library in the future and proof that there's a real need for the library in the first place. I know, I know, you're one person, it doesn't matter, blah, blah, blah, but GUYS I think I've taken like 100 books out of the library in the last year alone. That definitely makes a difference (and it SERIOUSLY helped me save some money - hi again there, ya pesky recession).
So whether you have some cash lying around to fork over to your local library or are looking for a way to save money, please, please, PLEASE go support your local library. I usually put books on hold on the library website and then go over to pick them up, but my public library system also has a surprisingly large amount ebooks and audiobooks you can download instantly to your ereader or wherever else, which is pretty freaking amazing if you ask me.
What's your library story? Did you get into amazingly magical authors like J.K. Rowling and Tamora Pierce because of a librarian? How do you support your local library? Do you take out books, ebooks, or audiobooks? There are so many things I want to know, so fill in the blanks for me in the comments below!