I have always been at the mercy of the library system. Whether it was at school where my friend and I would prop our feet up on the warmest radiator in the old school library during frosty lunchtimes, comparing our favourite reads, or at university where’d I’d pull on my thickest hoodie and wonder round the small beaten up local library to the chorus of babies winning, or even in the hot summer holidays where I’d clutch my latest loan and find a sunny spot on the sun bleached grass in the park. When my boyfriend and I were looking at places to live we wondered round the houses, the town, checked out the proximity to food and scoured the library, me insisting it was in walking distance. It’s always been a staple of my book existence and there are just a few realities I know too well from my frequent trips.
Reading the Er Wrong Book
1 Grabbed a book you vaguely recognised but is actually the third in the series? They don’t have the book you want but they have a slightly different one by the same author? We all know the struggles of sharing your books with what feels like the world.
Peeked at the Reservation Shelf without an Email
2 When you’re little and impatient, creeping up on tippy toes to see over the library desk at that forbidden shelf, looking for the paper sleeve with your name printed down the spine wrapping a thick paperback, hoping your mum had missed the email in her inbox and it’s waiting for you all along.
Wrestled with a Dust Cover for Bookstagram
3 Do they weld those things on? How bad is the shininess and what’s with those ugly red spine stickers?!
Found a Signed Book and Debated the Moral Implications of Theft
4 How did it even get here? If you return an identical copy would they know?
Taken a Library Book on Holiday
5 It’s only when you finish the read, all chilled and stretched out on the beach, that you spot the familiar stamp on the back page and realise what you’ve done.
Dug Between Sofa Cushions to pay a 20p Fine
6 Because when you’re 10 a 20p fine seems a lot.
Reordered the Shelves because Anarchy is Occurring if the Series isn’t Together
7 Can they not see the distress these books are in? And yes I do prod the books so their spines are level on the shelf.
Made a very small Hole in a Display
8 If it’s all propped up and ready for borrowing it’s just too tempting… I just hope the display didn’t take the librarian too long to create.
Taken out your Next Read Before Finishing your Previous One
9 Because you just know you’ll never see that book in the library again if you don’t spring for it now.
Ignored an Ominous Page Stain
X It may be chocolate, it may be worse, we’ll just brush past that shall we.
Been Saved a Book by the Lovely Librarian
Cheeky little eleven but I couldn’t end the list without pointing out the communal love of reading: swapping recommendations with the librarian who always sets aside new releases for you, seeing kids queue up with ragged old copies of the books you fell in love with at their age, knowing the joy they’re about to discover, having a stressful day at work and stepping into the comforting smell of books, the exciting prospect of the unknown and the hidden gems you wouldn’t have found on Amazon.
Let’s Compare Notes
So there you have it! 10 Realities we library goers know too well, recognise any of these? Got a list of your own? Love to hear from you in the comments section!