Even as a casual reader, the cost of buying books can quick add up. Gone are the days of picking up a new book for a little over a fiver. Nowadays, a bestseller will set you back £8 or £9, with new releases in hardback costing well over £10. Reading should not be an expensive hobby.
When I was growing up, I would always look forward to Sunday mornings as my dad would take my sister and I to the local library. My clearest memories of mornings spent in that historic building involved me taking over the teenage section. I would always be affronted if someone else was browsing too. What if they took the next book in the series I was working through? I would painstakingly sweep through every shelf of every bookcase, looking for something that was becoming increasingly rare – a book that I hadn’t read yet. I would select 10 at a time – the maximum that the library allowed people to borrow – and usually read one from cover to cover that afternoon and evening. That was the magic of teen books. I could get through them incredibly quickly and they usually weren’t hard to digest.
It was clear that I needed to start venturing to the adult section soon after. I always found this area much more daunting as I browsed alongside grown men and elderly women. If they were picking books from this section too, then how did I know which books were for me?
It took me quite a while to follow my own judgement and pick up whatever I wanted. It didn’t matter if it was aimed at divorcees or men looking for adventure, if it sounded good, then I would read it. I never did fall in love with the adult section as much as my own corner in the teenage section.
That was when I fell out of love with the library in my home town. Then I moved away for uni and never properly moved back.
Now, five years since I moved away from home, I’ve signed up to a library in my new home. And, let me tell you, it’s one the best decisions I’ve made in ages.
I used to be one of those people who enjoyed the ease of reading with a kindle, but in 2017 I’ve fallen back in love with the printed page. This was becoming a fairly expensive hobby, spending at least £15 per month on books. Now I don’t spend a penny.
The library near my flat is great. They have a big children’s section and lots of tables for group study sessions. But, most importantly for me, they have a great adult section. Right by the entrance, they have large displays of brand new books to pick up. It’s the same as picking a title from W H Smiths, but these have plastic covers so they’re harder to damage. Perfect.
The general section isn’t usually as good, but I usually find three new books that I want to read before I even get there, so there’s no point getting stuck into the spines of older books.
Most importantly, this has made me read a lot more than I used to. The deadlines to return books make me slightly nervous, so I speed through one book per week to make sure I can read them all before the three-week return date. Like my old library, you can take up to 10 books out at a time but I rarely find the need to take out more than three. Even with my 30 minutes of standing on the tube per day, there aren’t enough hours to get through books any faster than that.
So there’s my top tip for you. If you want to read more and save money, make sure you find out where your local library is and join today. They’re all there for us to make the most of, after all. Plus, they have lots of community events that you can get more involved in and become more integrated into your area.
Do you use the library? Have you always been a member, or have you just realised how great they are?