Loving (and leaving) the library in my own backyard.

Five months ago today, we moved out of our first home. (I can barely believe it’s been five whole months already, but that’s another story.)

We loved that place for many reasons, not the least of which was that it was literally next door to a public library.

I went to that library almost every day. Most visits were quick: I just needed to return a book, or pick up a reserve item I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. When we were in major decluttering mode before the move, I’d take over magazines for the give-and-take bin and books for the library sale table over daily, sometimes taking multiple trips for multiple loads.

The kids and I would occasionally go to special events and story hour, but usually, we just popped in for fifteen or thirty minutes here or there.

When we moved, I knew we’d miss living 100 yards from the library, but I was unsure (and a little apprehensive) about how exactly our library usage would change. It’s been five months, so I’m getting the idea.

My library fines are up.

I’ve always had library fines, though fairly modest ones. It wasn’t often that I just forgot (although that happened): I’d accrue fines because I was buying time to finish a book before I took it back, or because nobody could locate an overdue item. That happened way too often with my kids’ library items.) It was no big deal to run items next door right before the library closed—it was close, and I needed the steps.

Now that I have to plan ahead to go to the library on purpose, I find myself choosing between getting in the car or just paying the extra twenty cents. I usually choose the latter. Hey, it’s for a good cause. (That’s what I tell myself.)

My steps are down.

I’ve been tracking my steps for almost eighteen months now, and one of the reasons I went to the library so often was to get more. I loved to pop outside when the kids were in bed for a short walk around the block and a stop to pick up a book on reserve, or to return the novel I’d just finished. I don’t do that anymore.

On the other hand, the library is now a pleasant bike ride away, and that’s good exercise, too—especially with twenty pounds of books on your back. But I don’t do that nearly as often as I used to walk.

buckle up library books

My library hauls are nearly unmanageable.

I used to go to the library every day, and now I go about once a week. For a family of six heavy readers, that makes for a heavy load. (See above.)

library stacks diaper

The kids don’t go to the library as much as they used to.

The kids used to pop over with me all the time to the library. Now they don’t go nearly as much, because I don’t go nearly as much.

On the other hand, they’re now learning to request their own books: to be deliberate about what they want to read, and to plan ahead for it. I don’t think this is necessarily better or worse—I believe in the serendipity of the stacks, and I believe in reading deliberately.

Living next door to the library, my kids have had plenty of bookish serendipity. Now they’re learning to read deliberately. It’s not better or worse, but it’s certainly different.

We’re reading as much as we ever did.

In the big picture, nothing much has changed. We used to be 100 yards from the library, now the distance is a little over a mile door-to-door. Both are enviable positions to be in. But all is relative, and having a library in the neighborhood is not the same as having one in your own backyard.

When the library was next door, my kids (and myself, honestly) took the library for granted. It was easy to do, and I didn’t mind it terribly—how lovely for my children to grow up knowing that books were part of their daily lives, in the house and out of it.

Now that the library requires a deliberate—if not difficult—effort to get to, my kids are able to see from a slightly different angle that books matter to our family, and we believe them to be worth the effort.

I’d love to hear about your experience with the library—near and far—in comments, and how that has affected your reading. 


Leave A Comment
  1. We don’t live within walking OR biking distance of a library. Fortunately, the library is on the way to and from several regular destinations of ours, so it’s not too hard to stop in and drop off or pick things up.

    However, I must say that large canvas bags are ESSENTIAL when you’re picking up reading material for a family of six!

    Also, we make frequent use of the library’s online hold feature. This means a bunch of the books we want arrive at the library around the same time, which makes our trips more efficient.

  2. We go to the library about once a week. I generally just pop in to grab what I have on hold and/or make returns–in this season of life with little ones + being pregnant, that’s generally what feels manageable vs. letting everyone roam freely. Loved the recent Read Aloud Revival Podcast on this topic.
    And love no-pants Silas. Thought of you lately b/c Rowan refuses to wear pants 90% of the time. Sigh.

  3. Sara K. says:

    Our favorite library is not the one closest to our house, but it is very close to my job and to my daughter’s after-school care. It’s a relatively new library. One of my FAVORITE features is that is has a drive through window for dropping off and picking up books. Don’t misunderstand, I love visiting the library and just browsing, but when I need to quickly drop off a return or pick up a hold the window makes it very convenient!

    • Katherine says:

      Oh- a pickup window!!! We would use the heck out of that! I use the drop-off bin all the time, but am frequently deterred by going in with three kids (plus pregnant belly) for my three books on reserve. A pick-up window would be awesome!

      Side note, as I see many people don’t mind overdue fines: A friend last year told me that the library fines we pay in Charlottesville don’t actually just go to the library. They go to the City of Charlottesville and then some of it, of course, trickles down to the library. After hearing that, I don’t pay them nearly as happily.

      • Sara K. says:

        That’s unfortunate. I think I’d be happier to pay the fines too if I knew they went solely to the library.

        As a sidenote, we live near you! We are in Salem (right outside of Roanoke)! 🙂

      • Anne says:

        That’s very interesting about the taxes. I wouldn’t pay my library fines nearly as happily either.

        (In my town, library fines doubled a few years ago. It was part of the library’s plan to expand to Sunday hours at many of the regional branches. That’s how they were financing paying the staff for the extra hours. Now that that’s been in place for a few years, I’m not sure how the fine money is put to use.)

  4. We have always lived relatively close to a library. When we bought our first home earlier this year, one of the major perks was its close proximity to the library (it’s about a 15-minute walk or a 2-minute drive). One of my favorite things about being close to a library is, like you said, it’s so easy to just pop over and pick up a book that’s on hold or return a nearly overdue item five minutes before closing.

    And I totally know what you mean about heavy loads of books. After splitting the seams on several bags, I finally resorted to my old college backpack. That thing had been loaded to full capacity in its glory days, and it is serving us very well again in its old age. 🙂

  5. Ellen says:

    We are a ten/fifteen minute walk to the library, or a two minute drive. I love it. Sometimes we walk over in the evenings. Mostly I just drop off and pick up when I am out. We have an app for placing holds and checking book status and I use it a lot to order and see what is ready. I don’t mind some fines – we are very heavy library users and I figure that it’s a small cost and contributes to the library.

    I’m glad we are so close. On the other hand, every time we walk by the house next to the library, I imagine how magical it would be to live right there. 🙂

  6. Corby says:

    I just started working at our local library. I volunteered there prior to that. I love the library because I’m able to get in touch with my community through programs, flyers etc. I love seeing what patrons check out and asking them about their latest reads. We have a couple of families that have lots requests and they bring those pull crates to load up the books. Such a great FREE resource for everyone I’m constantly gushing about the library to people and surprised when some say they haven’t been in years.

    • I totally agree with you! I kind of can’t believe the library is free! If I added up the cost of all the books, audiobooks, movies, etc. that I check out every year it would be in the thousands of dollars. I’m amazed that some people can just walk into the bookstore and buy a bunch of books that they haven’t tried out first. I only buy books that we have read and loved and that I know will make great additions to our collection.

  7. Jennifer says:

    We live five minutes away from the library, by car. I don’t go that often, but what I do is pick out a huge amount of books I think we’ll read over a two or three week period and bring those home. I am so bad at returning them on time, though, and have also accrued ridiculous amounts of fines. I don’t mind that much, though, because I call it my yearly contribution to the library. 😉 I cannot, for the life of me, just pick out one or two books. I always pick out at least six, because what if I don’t like one? Or two? You get the picture. I will say that the library is my happy place. I love just going and being in there for an hour here and there.

    • Anne says:

      I’m with you. I have an impossible time narrowing my choices down to one or two, so I end up getting a dozen. I’m an aspirational checker-outer. 🙂

  8. Anne says:

    So, do you miss your friend not being next door? You sound okay with it. 🙂

    Like Jenn above, I have been in a mostly pop in and get the holds season of the library, but with school started, I am pushing to get us out more. The library is good place to be out and about. So, if we moved, I would be concerned I wouldn’t get them there as often because we are so close. I want them to grow up with memories of going frequently to the library.

    And, hey, Anne….I get email alerts and use the library app, and I still get fines! I have so many books checked out that one day over is not good! 🙂

  9. We moved back to my hometown about four years ago. One of the first things I did was go to my childhood library. I talked about this at a NM Library Association luncheon last year…and promptly burst into tears in front of hundreds of librarians.

    • Anne says:

      “I talked about this at a NM Library Association luncheon last year…and promptly burst into tears in front of hundreds of librarians.”


  10. Dana says:

    I need to make better use of the library. I wish one was in walking or biking distance. It is about a 15 minute drive to ours. It is a huge regional library and very nice but it is not close to any of my regular places. We do go past it on Sunday to church but it is closed then. We do have a wonderful Indie bookstore ( the only one left in town) that is within walking and biking distance and also in the complex where I grocery shop and run many errands. SO I always have to go in! I love supporting my friends ( we have known the owners and employees forever) but always find something I MUST have. The library would be easier on my budget and my book clutter. I just went into the bookstore Tuesday for a few minutes before meeting a friend for lunch. i walked out with 3 new books. The bookstore also happens to be near all of our favorite restaurants!!

    This has inspired me to make a trip to the library soon! The only thing close to it is a great enormous DSW shoe store. I do NOT need to go in there either!! 🙂

  11. Tim says:

    There’s a beautiful little city library a block and a half from the courthouse. It’s one of the old Carnegie libraries, and is staffed by some of the nicest people you’d ever meet. The library is also part of a huge network of libraries covering a large swath of northern California, so the online catalog is impressive.

    Have you taught the kids the wonders of an online library catalog and placing books on hold? It opens up another avenue of book exploration. I still wander library shelves, but the online holds are super convenient too.

    • Anne says:

      Yes! We’re heavy users of the online request system. I can’t imagine what people used to do without it. 🙂 I love a beautiful card catalog, but it sure doesn’t seem as convenient for finding books to request. 🙂

  12. Jesabes says:

    We live about a mile from our library and, while its wonderful to be so close, we still rarely manage to make it there. Part of it is that my kids are little and they have an amazing children’s area, so if we go it turns into a two/three hour production. During the summer reading program we had to go every week and it got exhausting to find a three-hour block in our week. I wish I could just pop in!

  13. jeri says:

    Our town library actually just built closer to our house! Perhaps you could see if your library has an online renewal option. I use that often to keep a book until I finish to avoid overdue fines.

  14. Hannah says:

    Because we lived in India for three years, in a remote mountain town, our current public library means more to us than I ever could have imagined. It’s our home away from home. We have to drive a bit to get there but I can honestly say that we don’t take it for granted. I figure that as long as my kids have the experience of searching the stacks the old fashioned way, I’ve done something right. Nothing wrong with ebooks but, like handwriting a letter, some things should be done on paper!

  15. Dawn says:

    I was going to suggest that you make a library stop as part of your weekly routine. I take a special route home from my daughter’s choir practice to stop at the library once a week for just the two of us. Sometimes we pick up holds, or I browse for a new audiobook (still listening on CD!). This is just how we do our day, and I have other regular stops in our schedule with the younger two as well.

    Q: Do you have any issues keeping your kids off the library computers? That’s what my kids want to do when they are there; no stack browsing for them.

    • Anne says:

      I’m with you—we don’t go to the library so the kids can play Blue’s Clues on the computer (that’s what other kids are always doing while we’re there!) I tell the kids we’re not there to play computer games, and since the computers require you to login with a library card and password, that’s the end of it. They’re so used to it now they don’t even whine about it. (Most days, at least. 🙂 )

  16. Jessica says:

    Hi Anne! Just found your blog recently and just have to say how much I love waking up and reading your posts. They are thoughtful and relevant and so much better than any gossip news or other social media articles that leave me feeling, “did i seriously just waste 10 minutes reading that?” Like you, I LOVE going to the library. How fortunate you were to live right next door to yours. Did the librarians know you by name?? Ours is not even a half mile away but I’m sad to say that we’ve never walked there! It’s so close so it’s easy to swing by real quick when we are out for errands, etc. I cross my fingers that my 2 boys (5 and 4.5) will always love to read, even during those awkward teenage years. 🙂 Thanks for the post!

  17. Tristan says:

    I wish I could walk to the library, but it is just a bit too far. I’ve settled into a routine of going right after a weekly lunch, so I almost always go once a week. Mainly I use the request feature, and feel disappointed if I don’t have a few books waiting for me when I get there, although I always look through the new books as well.

    My biggest problem is that I am kind of addicted to the library. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I also have a huge pile of books I own that need to be read, and yet when I have library books, I feel like I have to read them first, because they have a due date :-). I’m thinking I need a library intervention…

    • Karen says:

      I’m a book addict too. I live and work in different counties so I have a library card for each county. Yesterday I picked up 3 holds from work branch library and 13 holds from home branch library. Then I bought 5 more paperbacks from the thrift store today. I want to read everything NOW! I try to read the popular books that I know I won’t be able to renew first then work my way down the line. I just started keeping track of what I read on TheReadingRoom I’m looking forward to winter and being able to spend more time indoors catching up on my reading (or a mild case of the flu where I’m sick enough to stay home but not too sick to read).

  18. Erin says:

    My protip is that I have a bright orange library basket (by Reisenthel). Any books we are done with get stored there. Then when it’s nearly full, I pop it in the passenger seat of my car. So the next time I’m out, I swing by the library and put them in the return bin. (If your library doesn’t have a drive-by return bin, this plan isn’t nearly as great!)

  19. My reading increased dramatically when I discovered our local library had OverDrive, because the distance to the library suddenly didn’t make a difference. I borrow most of my books electronically on Kindle or audiobook through my laptop now and they’re automatically returned when time is up (although I get an e-mail from Amazon warning me I have three days left in case I need to renew). If I can’t get a book through OverDrive, then I will try to get a hard copy through the library at the university where I work. If I didn’t have these options and needed to drive the 2 miles to the local library every time I wanted to borrow a book, my reading habits would look very different.

  20. Emily C. says:

    What an enjoyable post and comments!

    I love libraries and that we’ve passed the love to our kids. I think the library saved me from going completely crazy when I transitioned to being a stay-at-home, freelancer with my first baby. We had one car, lived in a remote little town, and the ONLY thing within walking distance was a tiny library (a 640 square foot trailer). No stoplights, no stores, nothing. I could browse with a baby in a sling or stroller. Once they were mobile, we’d pick books for them, read a few, and they’d “read” at my feet while I’d browse. After a few years as the city built up, the library expanded to a real building. We’d walk as I pulled our two boys along in a wagon with all of our books. It kind of limited how many books we’d check out but we could go at least weekly for more books, storytimes,…

    Now, we’ve living elsewhere and have another car. There’s a mid-sized library that’s about a 5 minute drive and it’s more of a quick dash trip when someone’s dying for a book immediately because there’s also a large, wonderful library about 20 mins away. We tried to find a house in that city with the library as a consideration but it didn’t work so we bought a non-resident card. Since it’s a drive, it becomes more of an event to get there but it’s a family event.

    I understand about enormous loads! Thank goodness there’s a 100 item limit. 🙂
    My boys are bigger now so we each take a backpack and they can help carry at least some of their books. And one of my favorite things is when I place online holds and I’m first in line for a new book not yet out. Kind of nerdy I suppose.

    Thanks for the chance to remember.

  21. I totally take my library for granted. It’s a 5 minute walk from my apartment, and I pass it all the time buying groceries or walking to the subway. If we ever move out of NYC I’m going to miss being so close!

  22. CG says:

    Growing up, the library was a magical place. The lobby of an old hotel had been converted into the town library. It had a vintage, old-world feel to it. Tiled floors, ornate columns, and leather chairs and sofas dominated the main area. There was even a working fireplace. The other end, for kids, was filled rows upon rows of books that I’ve never seen in any other library. Plenty of soft seating here, too. My sister and I would either walk or bike-ride there; we always came home with our weight in books.

    Then we moved to the east coast. And I realized just how lucky I’d been to have grown up with such an awesome library. The closest location near my parents was a dump. The building wasn’t that old but was in terrible shape. The selection was pitiful. Before, I’d browse the aisles until I found something that peaked my interest. Looking up and reserving books was a foreign concept to me. Perhaps doing this would have made this newer library more pleasant. Maybe not. After a few visits, though, I never went back.

    Almost ten years later, I’ve given the library another chance. No; I didn’t sacrifice reading during those years. I just bought my books instead. Now my kids and I go every week, without fail. We get tons of books at each visit. I’ve read more books in the last six months than I have in nearly two years. And I’ve saved a lot of money. Always a bonus. Recently, we reached our limit on checkouts. Amazingly, we have yet to lose a single book. And I’ve paid less than $5 in fines.

    Our local library is nothing like the one I grew up with. I’ll never wander through the kids’ section and find late 19th-century primers or go into that cozy corner with the fireplace and curl up on the leather sofa to read. There won’t be a space near the basement entrance where I can safely store my bike until I’m ready to go home. And there won’t be a creaky wire rack filled with drugstore-esque young adult novels that I’ll sneak home.

    But I can still share my passion for the library with my kids. They can learn that the library is a fun and magical place. And we’ll read more together and find some common (literary) ground with one another.

    I’m glad I gave the library another chance.

  23. Erin says:

    When my husband and I were newlyweds, we lived within walking distance of our town’s library. It was heavenly! We’d often take leisurely walks to the library after dinner or on a Sunday afternoon and just browse. Now we live smack dab in the middle of two libraries, which are each about a 10-minute drive away. I miss the days of being a short walk away, but I’m happy with having not one, but two libraries somewhat nearby.

  24. Kayris says:

    Our library system allows kids to read down their fines. Kids under 6 can get the First Card, which does not accrue fines at all, with the caveat that only children’s materials can be checked out. Kids up to age 13 can earn one “Pratt buck” per 15 minutes of reading (they have to check in with a librarian first) and kids 13-17 get a Buck for 30 minutes. The system caters to a lot of inner city kids, so while my kids read like fiends, 15-30 minutes of reading is a big deal for other patrons.

    The branch closest to us has been closed for renovations for ages now, but it’s so small and the selection so terrible, if I wanted something specific, I had to request it.

    The next closest branch is less than half a mile, but we usually opt to drive and plug a meter, because walking half a mile with bags stuffed with books is a lot.

    One thing I have noticed is that library privileges have helped my kids with independence and responsibility. My ten year old carries his own card in his wallet, chose his own PIN and knows how to use the library computer system and also how to check out. Both kids have been encouraged to ask a librarian for assistance when they want something specific.

    And our fines have gone down with the advent of online library systems. Both their cards are linked to my email, so I get a reminder when books are due, and I can renew online if we don’t have time to get to the library before the due date.

  25. Deborah says:

    We live 300 yards away from the little library on our compound and we are there every day, partly because we love books, partly because I’m the Story Time lady, and partly because we are so close. So, so grateful to have easy access to a library full of books in English in the Middle East.

  26. Suzanne says:

    My husband and I lived in several different places before we had children and settled down. The libraries were always one of the first places we explored in our new town. We still talk about our favorite libraries. Unfortunately, we don’t live within walking distance, but are there at least once a week, but usually several times a week dropping off books. My kids are teenagers now and avid readers. Anytime they hear about a book they want to read, they are requesting it from our library.

    My dream job would be to be a children’s librarian!

  27. Jamie says:

    Love this: “I believe in the serendipity of the stacks and I believe in reading deliberately.” I think we do some of both. We’ve lived in 3 different houses since being in our city, and the library has been well-used by us in each home. We deliberately get there every other week. We often spontaneously drop in between errands or classes. I like what you said about teaching kids reading is a priority no matter the proximity of the library. I want our boys to love books. (LOVE the diaper picture, too, by the way!)

  28. Rachel says:

    I still miss the library we lived near when we were in Iowa for my husband’s schooling–we lived right off a beautiful bike path that went straight by the library. It was about a 15-minute walk from our front door to the library, and it was so scenic and lovely. I used to love walking there with Forrest in the stroller when he was a baby. Now, 2 moves later, I can bike to our library in about 10-15 minutes, although I usually don’t, because between the 20ish pounds of books and 60ish pounds of kids in the bike trailer, it gets a bit intense. And our current library is not a part of the county’s library system (no idea why, but it frustrates me to no end!) and has a rather pitiful selection, but we don’t have the option to borrow from any other libraries in the county either (unless we are willing to pay a few dollars per book). Whenever we move, I’m making sure that a well-stocked, well-connected, nearby library is high on my list of priorities.

  29. Can I make a confession? Promise you won’t love me any less? When my daughter was about six years old, she heard the word “library” on TV and asked me what one was. I told her it was a place that let you borrow books, and then when you were done, you gave them back. She paused a little and said, “But I don’t want to give them back.” And I said, “Me neither. That’s why you don’t know what a library is.” 🙂

    Since then, (she’s 17 now) we have been many times, but I still prefer the used book store, which allows me to take my time reading, and keep the book if I want to!

  30. Alyssa says:

    We have a big beautiful downtown library but it feels like a big event, so we don’t go very often. We use a smaller branch library for our holds and it still has a nice selection. This is the first place i’ve ever lived that the library is City, not County. Many parts of town, like ours, are not incorporated so we have to pay $120 a year. I’m sure it all works out in taxes but it doesn’t feel right. Still, $10 a month with as much as we read and homeschool our four kids is worth it!

  31. Leigh Kramer says:

    I adore the library in my hometown and consider it to be one of the very best. I’ve always been a regular library patron but my habits completely changed when I moved to Nashville. There’s the main downtown library (which I didn’t set foot in until a couple of months ago) and there are neighborhood branches. I stop at my branch about once a week but I hardly ever browse. I’m there to pick up whatever I’ve reserved. I miss browsing but my branch has such fewer options that browsing is usually more miss than hit. I have to be more intentional about what I borrow but I miss the random, unplanned for beautiful finds that accompany browsing.

  32. Eve says:

    Unfortunately, most of my library experiences from the time I was a child to an adult have put a bad taste in my mouth. The library to me is grumpy old ladies who are anything but excited about reading and act like you are greatly bothering them if you ask for help. The few times I’ve used our current library, I was charged for books I “didn’t return” only to find out that they didn’t check them back in before putting them on the shelf, or I would pay a late fee only to be told the next time that I still owe it because they didn’t record that I paid it! Sometimes I feel like I missed my calling to become a librarian and actually encourage people to read.

  33. Courtney says:

    I can really relate to this right now. About a month ago I moved from my small city hometown to a much larger city. My hometown library had an incredible interlibrary loan system, and I was there at least once a week for books and a homemade lunch from the little, one-person cafe. Now that I’m in a larger city, they interlibrary loan system is essentially non-existent, and there are huge wait lists for every single book I try to check out (including ebooks). It’s kind of ironic that I finally have access to book clubs like I’ve always wanted, but now I don’t have access to library books to read for the clubs!

  34. Tuija says:

    I love our local library system. The nearest library is about 10 minutes’ walk from us. (For going there, my favourite library bag is a backpack…) So we pop in to the library at least once a week. Sometimes we browse longer, sometimes we just return books and pick up requests. But we also sometimes go to other libraries in the same system, if they happen to be on our errand route or we just want a little ‘field trip.’

    I really love the online service, though: being able to request books (for free!), being able to renew our loans so we can avoid those late fees, having my own wishlists in the system… And this year I’ve also started to use the Overdrive e-book loans.

    When I was a child, we had two library branches within an easy distance – 1-2 kilometres, a quick bike ride. I remember going often, with my dad, carrying big loads to and fro. We kept track of our loans by writing them into an exercise book, by date borrowed, and with a space to fill in the return date. I think those exercise books are still somewhen at my parents’ home – a wonderful record of what I read between 6 and 18 (and what my dad read, too)…

    • Anne says:

      Oh my goodness, those bike ride/library log books sound like fascinating historical records! I hope they’re still in safe keeping somewhere. 🙂

  35. Jenna Pirrie says:

    While I was in school I would go to the main Chicago library once in awhile (I was in love with that huge, amazing building), but I didn’t have as much time for reading for myself as I would have liked. Once I started reading much more again, I’d gotten in the habit of constantly reading on my Kindle, including borrowing books from Overdrive. So even though I graduated a year and a half ago now, I never took advantage of the library two blocks from my first apartment,or, now, the one that’s a fifteen/twenty minute walk away.

    But I should, right? I feel like I’m missing something in my life, with the only library I frequent being a webpage. Now that I’ve been pushing myself to put down my Kindle more and pick up hard copies instead, it might be time to do something about it!

  36. Having so many kids is SUCH a hassle with the library!!!! I always had fines. The library we moved to here is awesome. No fines, no book limit, and a 3 week checkout time. It was 4 weeks, and they reduced it and I’m honestly suspicious we had something to do with that, haha. We are always so late taking our books back. I should get better at that before they start charging fines! We actually went to today and I imposed a 5 book limit per kid to try and reign that in. It’s half a mile to our library. You’d think it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to go more often.

  37. Virginia says:

    For as long as I have had a library card, I have had fines. I make myself feel better by believing that I am contributing to them keeping their lights on so I can keeping coming back for more. But, I have only once ever lived close enough to a library to walk there. It was when my oldest child was between the ages of 3-5 and we’d go almost every weekend because it was less than a mile’s walk away.

    I love the idea of encouraging deliberate reading. I shall add that phrase to my repertoire.

  38. Ginger says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has library fines. I always feel awful, like I’m not being a model citizen, but I don’t live particularly close to my nearest library, and it’s very often more economical to pay the few cents rather than make a special trip when a book I’m almost finished with is due.

    I like your perspective — it’s going to a good cause. And even if I were to rack up $10 a year or so, that’s still half the price of one book generally.

    But oh how I long and dream to live within walking distance of a library someday!

  39. martha schmidt says:

    What is worse is moving to a small town with a library smaller than the one in your house – Thank the Lord f
    or interlibray loan!!!

  40. Nancy says:

    When I was little my parents intentionally bought a house a block from a county library, so we were over at the library all the time. For the last few decades, even though we live just a 5 minute drive from our local library, I stopped going there and drove 20 minutes away to purchase books from a bookstore. Now that I’m retired, I’m back to using our local library. I can place holds on books I want online, and save money on gas as well as the cost of books I’ll only read once. Libraries really are priceless, even when you have to pay fines.

  41. Jane Cohn says:

    What is the NM Library Association? I have been in Albuquerque for 45 years, have gone to the library for as long and have never heard of this. Is the NM a different acronym?

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