Friday, November 14, 2008

A Personal Low

I went to the library yesterday and I checked out a mere 4 books. They told me I only had 9 other items checked out. This is the least amount of books I have had out of the library in over 2 years.

Mayhem and I go to the library nearly every week. If Havoc is out of school he comes with us. Yesterday I went alone, which explains the 4 measly books. I get 3-6 books every time. Mayhem gets 2-4 books and a couple of videos. Havoc gets the same if he is with us, otherwise I pick out a couple books for him. On average I leave with 10 items every week. During the summer I leave with as many as 22.

We return the books we have read whenever we go, but we never read all of them in a week. Then we check out more books and they move the due date of the last batch to the new batch. Next week bring back a few more, maybe some from the past week, maybe some from the previous weeks. All the outstanding books are then moved to the new batch's due date. Repeat, week after week, unless a rare hold request has come up. At any given moment there are at least 20 library books and videos in my house and only a quarter of them have the correct due dates on them. I've had as many as 50 items out at once. I'm not sure how I got down to 13.

It was about 3 years ago that I realized that book buying was taking a huge chunk of our budget - especially the kids books. I had a hard time cutting them out. Books are good for you, they are educational, interesting, mind expanding, entertaining, wonderful things! How can you spend too much on them? It's like saying you have to cut vitamins out of your budget. You need vitamins. You can't just stop buying them. But a huge chunk of the budget is a huge chunk of the budget and out it had to go.

It took me awhile to warm to our library. You could tell how it's resources ebbed & flowed over the years by publication date. For instance it has childcare books from the 80's and 90's, including the Dr Sears Sleep Book edition that recommends putting babies to sleep on their bellies, but nothing from 1997 to 2002 (which was when I was looking for sleep books). But come 2004 suddenly there are all these recent childcare manuals. It is the same in fiction. I moved here in 1997, so the majority of my library experience was during the lean years, before the housing and therefor tax dollars boom. I just stopped visiting it after the end of 2002, it held nothing I was looking for. But toward the start of 2006, when I decided to stop buying so many books, I returned and was pleased to see tax dollars at work in a nice stock of new or recently published books.

The children's' section is still rather run down and bit out of date but they have a huge number of kids books and who cares if the covers are worn, Thomas the Tank Engine never loses it's appeal. Ever since then we've gone to the library at least twice a month. I don't think there has been a point since late 2006 when there were no library books in the house.

I'm just really surprised there are only 13 at the moment. Surprised and relieved because when I was looking for books to return yesterday I thought I'd misplaced a bunch of them.

8 comments:

Helene said...

I share the same love of the library!! I take the kids on a weekly basis to pick out new books...I have a 3 book minimum for each of them. Then we focus on those books for the week and then they get to pick new ones the next week. I always pick out books for myself too. Our library also recently started putting out new books...I managed to get the latest Mary Higgins Clark book, as well as Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious. I felt like I had just found the deal of the century!! I'm a library dork!

2TooManyHats said...

When the kids were younger, we would go to the library at least once a week - yes sometimes more - they loved it there! We would have take home piles of books every week. Now that they are older we go much less, but they still love it.

Jenni Jiggety said...

I love my library but due to come crappy budget cuts it is rarely open now...

musing said...

I love our library, but I sometimes think we single-handedly fund it with our late fees. Maybe I should just buy the books instead!

Deb said...

they should cut the church school program (and the bus), and put that $ towards the library.

we just had a new library built 2 minutes from our house. i need to check it out. and of course, pun intended.

Susanna said...

Library? That's a great idea I think I'll go, only problem is that I always forget to return the books.

Jess said...

Sorry to hear about the book fiasco. I rarely checkout any books, the last books I checked/rather borrowed.. where the Twilight series. I had the library put a hold theirs just in case I couldn't get to the next book luckily I was able to continue to read them from a friend and never checked the books out. I guess I could if I wanted to read them again bad enough.

Also it's a rare thing that I read period. I need to start reading more to the kids.

journey2learn said...

Relating... a huge portion of our budget goes to books...love them. Still have not learned to 'warm-up' to our local library, though....need to. This post is inspiring.