Alternative titles for this post include:
How to be the biggest library stan you can possibly be
Being a library nerd is beneficial to your community
Is it possible to become an honorary librarian just from talking about libraries so much?
OK, but all joking aside, in the UK the threat of library closures is still very real, especially in the current political and economic climate.
For my last post of #LibraryLoves month, I wanted to share some of the best ways you can help your local library remain open and a continue to be a valued part of the community.
1. Sign up for a library card
Sounds simple, right? But I know a lot of people who have a library nearby that they aren’t a member of. The best thing you can do for smaller libraries is to go in and sign up for a library card. It’s quick and free.
Even if you never take any books out or don’t visit very often, you’re still helping their membership grow and proving to council/governmental funding bodies that your library is needed.
2. Borrow some books!
It seems like the most straightforward advice, but borrowing books will HUGELY help your library. It shows that the library is a relevant, necessary, and frequently used public resource. It shows that the space is required for the community. It proves to the government that they should continue to invest in libraries as a free service.
After all, if 24,000 books are borrowed from Library A in one year, but Library B’s members borrow 47,000 books, which library are the government going to think has more value?
3. Request books for them to order in
I want to share a well-kept secret with you: your library to order in specific books for you. All you’ve got to do is ask.
This might not be news to you at all, but a few people I’ve talked to didn’t know this was A Thing™ and I only found this out earlier in 2019, so I want to shout it from the hills.
If your library is able to order books in, request them. Doing this has changed by library life. In the last 6 months, I’ve requested:
Red, White & Royal Blue
Somewhere Only We Know
This Is How You Lose the Time War
The Library At Mount Char
The Candle and the Flame
The Kiss Quotient
Trail of Lightning
Sadie (on audiobook)
And they’ve managed to get all but one. Even better, every time a library buys in an author’s book, they author earns money on that purchase (just like a normal sale).
So not only do you get to enjoy the books you want to read, but authors benefit from it too.
4. Use the library’s other services
Most libraries will have PCs and printing services, as well as scanning and photocopying. They charge a very small fee for this, but if you don’t have a printer or your PC is off being repaired, use your library’s.
The library should get to keep any funds it makes from these services, so your money is going back into the library’s pot.
5. Bring your family and friends
I can’t stress this enough: the more people that use the library, the more likely it is to thrive and survive. If you bring friends and they decide to join, then you’ve really helped your library out.
If you have young children, what better place to encourage them to read. Plus, a lot of libraries have play areas and toys for kids.
Maybe don’t bring your pals in through the wall like Spiderman, though. A door is just fine.
6. Promote the library
We all have social media accounts and promoting your library on them can make a big difference. A photos or tweet might mean the difference between someone visiting rather than not visiting.
When I moved to where I live now, I gently encouraged (read: ensured) my parents to join the library. That’s three new members in one day.
I also mentioned to Jess @ABookAddict’sBookshelves that our library could order in books if she wanted any and she ended up requesting a few in too.
So promoting your library among friends or strangers can have a really positive influence.
7. Donate unwanted books
Most of us are in need of an unhaul every now and then, and if you don’t have a school or charity shop in mind, then give your unwanted books to your library. (I’ve never seen a librarian’s face light up so fast.)
By donating books to them, you’re saving the library from buying in new ones, and helping expand their collection. And even if the library already has three copies of the book you donate, they can put it into their next book sale and generate funds.
Just a note for fellow bloggers, though: don’t donate your ARCs, as most libraries can’t reuse them and have to either throw them out or try and sell them (which we don’t want since it’s illegal).
8. Stand up for your library
A few months ago, I was chatting to my librarian and they said that several years ago, the local council tried to close down our local library. This was before I moved into the area so I had no idea it had happened.
I asked her what happened and she said that there were huge protests. People campaigned against the closure, taking to the streets and leafleting to raise awareness. In the end, the uproar was so great that the council had to drop the plans of closure.
The public had proved that their need for the library and desire to keep it open was so great that the authorities couldn’t justify closing it.
By standing up for their library, the people saved it. So, if your library ever comes under a similar threat, I’d urge you to fight against it if you can. It can be something as simple as pointing out to a skeptic or critic that you love your library and you enjoy using it. Your support can make a difference.
Hopefully this post has given you a few ideas for how to support your local library and help them remain open and well-loved.
Let me know if you decide to give any of them a go or tell me about any other ways you promote/use your library!