Merin’s Musings #6: The Joys (and Perils) of Library Books


Today’s musing post is brought to you by the stack of library books I currently have sitting next to the chair I do most of my reading in, as well as an email from the library reminding me to renew said books.

For the fourth time.

Let me preface this by stating the obvious: I adore the library. There’s a quote by T.S. Eliot that says, “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” I love this quote, because it really speaks to the importance of libraries in general, the fact that they can educate and provide sanctuary and support for anyone who seeks it out. It also speaks to the idea of hope: hope that things will get better, hope that people will take steps to improve themselves, hope that future generations will want to know about the past. Libraries are full of so much information – there’s something there that can speak to anyone – and I’m not sure there are many other places that can say the same. So thinking about libraries in general just makes me happy.

And while I’m all about “yay, education!” and “yay, information!” what I really love about libraries is that I can generally get my hands on any book I want, even if said library system doesn’t have the book I might want (inter-library loan, ftw!). But my overall feeling of “YAY, BOOKS!” usually tends to lead to me going overboard with my requests. Because I just want to read all the books, you know? After all, I subscribe to the thought shared by Roald Dahl when he said, “If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” And the library certainly gives me a chance to read a lot of books.

And therein lies my problem: Libraries are bad for my self-control.

I have always had issues figuring out the balance between reading what I want (library books or books I own) and books I “need” to read (like arcs/galleys). Because my reading in general has been such a struggle the last nine months, I have kind of made a point to switch my mentality and really only read what I want to read, with the hope that this will just get me reading something. And for the most part it’s worked, although I am still definitely going through some reading slumps/lack of desire to actually pick a book up. But a while back I decided to go through my Goodreads to-read list and look at some titles I was initially really excited about, to see if they were available at my local library. They were, so I requested them. Hence the stack of library books currently staring at me.

So here’s my question. If you use your local library system, how many books do you usually check out at one time? Do you limit yourself to one, or do you get a whole stack at once? How do you balance out “your” books and the books you need to read for review?

Right now, the last book I read was a review book. I have another review book that I’m (slowly) working on as well. And I have two others that I need to read within the next few weeks, just so I can get them reviewed prior to their release. And yet, I have a giant, teetering stack of my own books to read, plus the four books from the library that I can only renew so many times. In fact, I feel like I’m so inundated with books, that I’m just generally avoiding them altogether. Which is ridiculous, right? I mean, just pick something up, Merin, seriously, right?

So. Do you read library books? If so, how do you structure them into your review schedule? And how do you keep yourself from generally requesting all the books? Am I just overthinking this? Am I just being generally ridiculous? (Feel free to say yes.)

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges

Agreed, sir. And maybe, if that’s true, I will finally get a chance to read all those books on my TBR List – without the fear of those dreaded overdue notices.


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8 Responses to Merin’s Musings #6: The Joys (and Perils) of Library Books

  1. I love all the quotes about libraries. I love libraries, too, and am always a little skeptical of people who don’t use the library. But I am a librarian, so maybe I’m a bit biased. Anyway, I can definitely take out tons of library books. There are times when I will have 30+ books out. But I always know that I won’t read them.

    I’m such a mood reader. And so I like to have LOTS of options when it comes to what books I have available to read. I do have review books, too, but I’ve gotten a lot better at controlling myself with Netgalley and Edelweiss. When I’m decided if I want to request a book, I now always think “am I going to read this before the release date?” and if I’m not sure or if I won’t then I don’t request it. Because I know I can get it from the library when I’m ready. Of course I still do request books that end up not reading, but not that often anymore. And almost never from Netgalley.

    But as for the crazy amount of library books that I always seem to have out, it never bothers me. If I don’t end up reading it before the due date, then I return it, and I’ll give it a try another time. And when it comes to deciding what I will read next, it’s almost always based on mood. I do have a spreadsheet of any review copies I have , and I always try to take those books into account, but if I’m not in the right mood, I can’t read them.

  2. April Wood says:

    Oh Merin, it is like you are reading my mind! I was just thinking how I miss borrowing library books! I feel like all I do is review books… Haven’t read anything I’ve really WANTED to read in forever. Boo!
    And I see that you do not accept awards (OMG I don’t blame you), but I nominated you anyways, ;) Hehe, for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!:) If you wish to participate, you can find the instructions here:
    Or not worry about it! :)

  3. I love the library. The atmosphere, the smell (that’s odd, isn’t it?), the feeling of being surrounded by likeminded people. It’s comforting. And I used to use that as an excuse to keep checking out crazy amounts of books. But then my personal TBR/priority reads amassed to a point where it was (and still is) impossible to reign in and I had to tragically make the decision to part, temporarily from the library system. It was a sad day. Your post however makes me want to just come crawling back xD

  4. I rarely visit the library, because our English YA section is very small.I used to go to the library once a week with stacks of book I would devour in no time, but I’m now busy and I’d rather read my own books :)

  5. Alisa Selene says:

    I do the same, take out too many and realize I don’t have enough time to read them all LOL Fortunately Aidan is a librarian so he can gets the books back that I haven’t had time to read etc.

  6. Pingback: September in Review | Read and Reviewed

  7. Pingback: September Wrap Up - Lose Time ReadingLose Time Reading

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