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What Your Library Can Offer You

Do you use your library?

I’m not asking that question just because some of our libraries are in trouble. Many have had their budgets reduced, resulting in fewer staff and having to reduce opening hours. The more we use our libraries, the more they can prove that they are needed and worthy of the investment by the government.

I rejoined my local library recently. I’m an avid reader and although I love browsing in bookshops, it was getting a bit sore on the wallet. If I really like a book I borrow from the library, I may well buy it at a later date or if it isn’t available to borrow, I will buy it but I have such a long ‘to read’ list, it would cost me a fortune otherwise.

The advantages of joining your local library are significant. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much is on offer from local libraries now. Did you know you can:

  • Avail of free computer classes that are organised according to demand and availability
  • Join the local library bookclub or they will assist you in setting up a bookclub. Many libraries have a number of ‘bookclub books’ which means that might have up to ten copies of each book in stock, thereby saving bookclub members the cost of buying them.
  • You can borrow up to eight books / CDs / DVDs at a time.
  • If books haven’t been requested by someone else, you can renew them for longer than the three weeks.
  • Audio books are expensive to buy and many are stocked by libraries. If a library doesn’t have it in stock, they can request it from a library in another county for you. You can also download audio books to your device too.
  • You can borrow eBooks now too by ordering it from your library’s website. You can download it and keep it for three weeks and then just send it back.
  • Many libraries also have numerous magazines available as eMagazines – these can also be borrowed for three weeks and you can read them on your kindle, tablet or laptop.
  • You can access Irish Newspaper Archives for free via your library too (ordinarily this costs €30 per month) so whether you are doing research or wondering what happened on a particular date (perhaps your date of birth), you can do so via your library.
  • Many libraries also have quiet study spaces. You can go there to read the newspapers too.
  • You can learn new languages via your library too.
  • Your local library may host events such as reader evenings, launches of books or the presenting of historical research so there’s plenty to interest most people.

If you are retired, a student or unwaged, you can use your library for free. For others, payment is €15 per year, less than the cost of a new hardback book in many cases.

And in case you might feel you’re not supporting authors enough by borrowing rather than buying books, the authors will receive payment from the PLR rights if they have registered.

If you are a member of your local library, what do you love about it?
photo credit: State Library Brisbane via photopin(license)

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