Libraries with no books...and why it's a problem

I'm in the middle of a rather painful book buying diet and *so so so* many amazing books are coming out. Books by authors I *really* want to support.

I want to read these books.

I really *really* want to read them.

I want to read them because I've heard so much about them. Because I love the women who wrote them. Because I want to tell the whole world how amazing they are and make all my friends read them.

But I can't even seem to check them out of the library.

Not because there's a waiting list, but because no one has them. Not even in audio book. The *entire* county library system does not seem to own a single copy of the Linger audio book. Not one.

That is so sad.

It's also beyond frustrating.

Unfortunately, it seems to be the new normal.

The libraries here can't even afford librarians let alone new books, and the campus library has no "leisure books" to speak of that I would read. They can't afford much in the way of new books either.

I tried to get some audio books to listen to during my ginormous commute through campus inter-library loan (Mockingjay, Linger, and Dark Flame) and was told they were "too new" and to try back in four-six months. Yes. Months! I guess I'm not going to be getting Paranormalcy, Firelight , or several other books that I really want to read through inter-library loan either.

I try to request books to help these titles get bought and am basically told there's no budget to buy any even if a ton of people ask for them.

Will someone please get these libraries some books? Especially YA books?

If I can't find the books I want to check out, and I live in a large city, I can only imagine what it's like for so many other people out there.

How many frustrated readers are out there who *want* to read an author's book and can't because their libraries not only don't have them but can't afford to buy them?

I work at a college...I have a sneaking suspicion that some students may read YA books for fun when not studying. If the library had them, the students would read them. Same for the local public library.

It hurts my heart that so many libraries can't afford books. What is a library without books people want to read?

I understand not being able to buy *every* single new book that comes out. But really.

It all comes down to money.

I guess the libraries don't have money to buy books for the same reason I don't. With the economy the way it is, you can't always buy everything you want.

It still makes me so very, very sad. New books shouldn't be a luxury. Especially for libraries.

Libraries need books. They are libraries. How else will people discover new authors and re-read old favorites? How can people support their favorite authors when they can't afford to buy a copy in the book store if their libraries not only don't carry the book, but can't even afford to buy it if it's been requested by multiple people? How will new generations discover the classics?

Where would I be if there hadn't been a library full of books to discover when I was a teen? (scary thought)

It was thanks to the library that I discovered fantasy and sci-fi, where I spent countless hours in the back of the stacks reading Bradbury, Bradley, and McCaffery. Where I read my very first Steampunk book before I even knew what Steampunk was. Where I discovered authors that had a major impact on my life.

We need libraries.

We need libraries to be open, with knowledgeable librarians, and to have books...lots of books that we want to read...including the classics and new releases.

If someone couldn't find a book in the library and couldn't borrow if from a friend and really wanted to read it...they might be tempted to go online and read it illegally. I personally wouldn't do this, knowing that not only is e-piracy illegal but that it really hurts authors. But people might go to such means if they feel it's their only option, even though it's wrong.

Teens (and all people) need to be able to discover new books and read their favorites. Reading is not an elitist sport. Everyone should be able to read a book if they want to, regardless of whether or not they can afford to go to the bookstore and buy it.

So please, what do we need to do to get these libraries some books?


cissikat said...

I totally agree! I live in a very small town with a tiny public library and have a limited budget for buying my own books, much less books for my 11 year old daughter. She depends on the school library for books! It has gotten harder but the school library still does buy some.
I always enter contests. I read the ones I am lucky enough to win, share them with my sister and daughter, if appropriate, but frequently have been donating them. My daughter was fortunate enough to win several books this summer, most of which she wants to keep, but is willing to donate a couple to the school because she thought they were so awesome other people should be able to read them too!
I don't know how to solve the problem on a large scale but I do know I will do what I can by donating to my local libraries as often as possible!

Beth Caudill said...

I love my library. But right now, I'm wondering if it is going to be on the chopping block again next year.

This year, they had to cut 10% (after cutting 10% last year). They were going to close my library branch. With a concerted town effort they didn't close the branch but cut the money for new books.

For next year, they are looking at cutting 15% and I wonder if we will still be able to keep the branch open.

Suzanne Lazear said...

@ Cissikat donating books to the library is a great idea and it's teaching your daughter a lesson

@ Beth It's hard for libraries right now and it's too bad. I hope they can keep your branch open.

Sapphire Phelan said...

Problem with ones like mine is I found out they decide if an author donates a book if they want it in the library or not. if not, donated to Friends of Library for their used books sale (and the book donated is a new book!). After this last time, when I was told and looks like they are not going to put a copy in, I decided not to get burned again. Other libraries have taken my donated books before.
With the economy as it is, some won't take some books. Others do.

Suzanne Lazear said...

Sapphire--that is very good to know. I don't think anyone would want to donate a nice new book to a library with the intent that it end up on the shelves only to find it at the used book sale. Thank you!

Margaret Carter said...

What a dire situation! Our library system (Anne Arundel County, Maryland) always seems to get plenty of copies of the new books I want to read but not buy. One can request books from the whole county on their website, and there's another site for requesting books statewide. If an item isn't listed on either of those, we can still put in a written request, and the library will search university collections or even outside the state. That's the only way I've been able to read some of the absurdly-priced scholarly books I've been interested in.

The library was my lifeline in childhood and teen years, and even though I buy lots of books now, I still couldn't get along without it.

I was also distressed when I learned donated books don't usually end up in the collection. I even hand-delivered one of my own novels to our local library and asked the librarian to make sure it was sent in to be catalogued, but it was never added as far as I could tell.