Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a Friend?
(Or don’t your friends trust you to return their books?)
And, DO you return books you borrow?
This question gave me pause simply because I had never considered the “rather” part of it. While I have a ton of books in my apartment, the majority of what I read comes from the library. This is due partly to the fact that I don’t have a lot of expendable income right now, and partly due to the fact that I love libraries and want to support them. Libraries are one of my favorite things in the world. I could go every day and browse the shelves. (I could also do this with book stores, but it isn’t the same.)
I do borrow books from friends, but I feel an enormous pressure to read the book and return it as quickly as possible. Even though a library has a due date, there’s something about working within the confines of that that is different for me than when dealing with a friend. I also find that I get nervous about finishing (and liking) a book that a friend has lent me. When you borrow from an actual person, there’s an expectation that you’ll talk about the book afterward. The library is awesome because there is no such expectation.
One more thing that I like about the library is that sometimes, when you pick out a book, you get a glimpse of someone who had the book before you. This could be a note or a receipt or something else. Sometimes I get a YA book and the reader before me has dog-earred all the pages with the racy scenes. The fact that this can be entertaining is a nice bonus.
The other day, one of my students was telling me about how she likes to leave post-it notes in the books she checks out from the library. “I like to leave a little comment for the next reader,” she said. “I’ll write something like, ‘page 64 is awsome!’ or ‘Such and such is a great quote, don’t you think?’” This was an awesome idea, and I told her so. I might just have to start doing that, too.