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Amanda Nelson • 5 years ago

I am ALL OVER my library. Like a thing...that's all over...another thing. My twins love story time, we love checking out children's books and seeing what catches their interest (and then we go buy that book). I find that even though I've been downloading ebooks from my library at home, it hasn't decreased how often I'm physically there for lectures, classes, or to check out backlist stuff that's not in ebook and isn't at my local indie. If my library closed, I would rage in the streets.

Rita Meade • 5 years ago

You are a librarian's dream patron.

Dana • 5 years ago

My 5 year old daughter is a book lover because of our wonderful time spent at our local library. Her love for books will follow her throughout her life, and has already helped her become an intelligent, thoughtful citizen. Thank You, John Graham Library of Cumberland County PA!!

Caro G • 5 years ago

Please correct me if I'm wrong in my interpretation but... for the part where Deary complaints about only getting a fraction of the money he would usually get per book. The library has to buy the book in first place, which would give him X amount of money and then he would get the extra amount for every time the book goes out from the library, no? Wouldn't he (and other authors) would be getting extra money out of one physical copy of the book than if someone buys the book and then lends it around?

In no way do I condone his tantrum (for that's what I think this is about), but I just find it confusing that this is one of his arguments, unless I'm misunderstood how this exactly works.
I come from a country where books are not necessarily a priority when buying stuff. Statistically a Colombian reads 2 books per year...imagine if we didn't have public libraries where people who want to read don't need to choose between eating and reading.

The fact that someone would even consider proposing that reading should be only for people who can afford it makes my heart cringe in pain...

Kathy Dempsey • 5 years ago

Everyone has anecdotes, but there's real data too.

"Now we finally have real data to back up the assertion that library sales drive consumer book purchases through a revealing new LJ online publication, Patron Profiles: Understanding the Behavior and Preferences of U.S. Public Library Users (www.PatronProfiles.com)."

Library Journal did pretty decent research and showed numerically what we've always thought to be true. (Altho Deary's in the UK, at least there's data on one side of the Atlantic.) Learn more at http://lj.libraryjournal.co... .

I blogged about Deary as well, from the marketing POV, over at The M Word. http://themwordblog.blogspo...

Rita, thanks for writing about this. I'm with ya! (BTW I also loved Screwy Decimal's take on the "stressful job" kerfuffle.) Keep speaking out!

Rita Meade • 5 years ago

Thank you, Kathy!

Meli Dina • 5 years ago

I always have money for books, but the diverse selections provided at the different libraries in the city of San Antonio, Texas are way, way interesting! And the reference area is pretty awesome for school projects :) It's also nice to go somewhere that's always quiet for some in-depth reading! *planning on being a library volunteer sometime this year*

M • 5 years ago

Every library I've been to in the past few years has been completely packed with people. Communities need them.

ro720 • 5 years ago

It's my fault that bookstores and author's are struggling. My laundry room has a give a book/take a book shelf in my building. I moved in about 6 years ago, when bookstores really started to go on the decline. There is a direct correlation between these events. It is because of this shelf that I did not buy those books I took. Sorry Authors and book stores! I should have mailed a check to the author or my local bookstore for each book I read. Sorry people, it was selfish and irresponsible.

Leila M • 5 years ago

I used my library a LOT in my hometown (Newington CT) - it was like a second home. The library in the town I live in now, not so much; I've been there a couple of times since I moved in October. So far, the librarians are rude and unhelpful, or if they do help, it's only when you ask them first and then they make it seem like I'm getting in their way. So libraries in general, I totally support. Any ideas for improving libraries with discomfiting librarians?

JS • 5 years ago

Send the manager your feedback - if they are a decent manager they will appreciate it and do something about it. Most people don't complain - like you they just don't come back. How sad if that happens so often that the library's patrons decline and their funding with it.

Jen @ Watching The Words • 5 years ago

I don't feel that we should ignore Mr. Deary. He is obviously wrong, has no concept of the role of libraries in today's society, and has made statements that have no basis in facts. Unfortunately, if left unchallenged, there are those that will believe that he is right and who will begin to repeat his opinions as fact, increasing misperceptions. So, whether we want to respond to him or not, we need to stand up and remind the public why he is wrong, even when we honestly could not care less about what he thinks...

if you're interested in reading my whole rant you can find it at http://watchingthewords.wor...

PC Sweeney • 5 years ago

I have to throw in #6 here. I've been organizing the Great Librarian Write-out which will be on its 3rd year this year. This is a winner take all competition to get people to write about libraries in non-library, in-print, publications like newspapers or magazines. The first year, it was only $250 but last year it was $800 (winner announcement on Monday) we'll see what we get it up to this year. Getting all of us to submit our own writings about libraries to publications is a way for us to get the real word out about libraries.

Leslie (eserafina42) • 5 years ago

I already buy books AND go to my library and borrow tons of things (mostly physical books but some of almost everything else). I have a friend who just got a Nook and I'm working on getting her comfortable with the digital stuff. She also borrows all kinds of things and goes to the programs as well - I'm afraid I'm a little weak in that area. :) I will definitely share this with her and on FB as well.

cathn • 5 years ago

Cleveland has two major library systems - we are so lucky. I visit all of the time. With the demise of Border's, I don't have another place to browse physical books (I hate Barnes & Noble with a passion, I can't explain it). The ebook selection is great, too. My nieces regularly attend story hour and other activities, my retired parents go check out books and act retired, my brother regularly uses their internet... Unfortunately, most people I know treat the libraries around here like firemen - we love 'em, and vote for levies to support 'em, but would rather not meet 'em (you know, they don't want their houses to catch on fire...). That's ok, though, more books for me!

Shoo Rayner • 5 years ago


I do do my research - I visit a lot of Libraries and over the past few years the reference sections have been dwindling or disappearing - You might find a few shelves with old Britannicas on them. Big libraries, where people come to research are not the main issue. No one goes to their local libraries for reference anymore. They use the computers and that is why non-fiction, reference and ebooks are all going or have gone digital.

And as for “People who borrow books for free wouldn’t go out and buy them” - taken entirely out of context - what's your problem there? They don't. Just beacuse you would borrow a book for free doesn't mean you would have bought it, that's why Terry's argument is a load of tosh

I don't think you stopped to read what I wrote, but then very few people do - they read what they want to see, that fits their mind set especially when fired up on a soap box. :)

Keep up the good work - I'm actually on your side

EBennetDarcy • 5 years ago

The problem with the sentence “People who borrow books for free wouldn’t go out and buy them” is that it's not EXACTLY true, and ignores some subtleties. It would be more accurate to say that a library borrow isn't necessarily equivalent to a lost sale--it is true that not everybody who is willing to read a book for free would be willing to pay for it. But I personally use libraries for discovery, and will later buy a book that I initially borrowed if I loved it enough to want it in my permanent collection (in the same way I use Pandora to find new music, and then buy it off iTunes). Obviously I can only illustrate with my personal experience, but I'm inclined to believe I'm not the only one doing this.

Rita Meade • 5 years ago

Hi Shoo -

Actually, I did read every word you wrote - twice. I'm a librarian, after all! And, quite frankly, you're doing it again here: offering unsubstantiated opinion as fact.

You repeat: "People who borrow books for free wouldn’t go out and buy them." While I understand you were trying to counter Deary, I'm not sure how a statement like that can be supported (or helpful in this context). People who borrow library books very often buy the physical copy as well (if they enjoyed it enough). I've done it, people I've talked to have done it, I would guess a lot of people do it. Of course, this is anecdotal, and I'd be just as incorrect to state "Everyone who borrows books for free will also go out and purchase a copy." We just can't make claims like that, especially if the claim puts libraries in a negative light. What we should be saying is: libraries support authors by creating readers and giving authors a larger audience.

"No one goes to their local libraries for reference anymore." Again, not categorically true. People use the reference and non-fiction books at my local library ALL THE TIME. Perhaps it's a matter of economics and the libraries you visited were located in better-funded communities, but it's not the case for every community or library - and that is my inherent concern with what you wrote. You were making sweeping generalizations that don't apply to every library. That's really all I was saying. If you had stated "It seems that people may not be using their local libraries for reference anymore," I would have had less of a problem with it.

Anyway, thanks for reading my piece and for responding. I'm glad to hear we're fighting on the same side! I just want to make sure we're all providing correct information as we do it. :)


giboppmar • 5 years ago

As to the reference sections--as a salesperson of a company that sells digital reference, I can tell you that the reference sales are NOT dwindling--they're just going to a different format. That being said, it's still the librarians that are buying them and showing people how to use them, and it's at LEAST just as important that the librarians have them and can provide them for the general public. People do go to their libraries for reference, they're just shown to a computer rather than to the shelves. Also, I borrow tons of books from the library--I also buy tons of books. I'm not understanding your point. Sometimes I like the book so much that I read at the library that I go out and buy it.

LMcCJ • 5 years ago

Just to help you out here. Publishers have stopped printing paper copies of many reference books. The Oxford English Dictionary for example, will only be updated in electronic format. The profit margins just aren't there. The libraries have no say in the matter.

giboppmar • 5 years ago

As an employee of one of the largest reference publishers out there--we still print paper copies of ALL of our reference. The margins are, I would make an educated guess, actually smaller for digital because of the learning and profit curve on developing the technology to display books in a digital format. And librarians DO have a say whether or not they'd purchase digital or print. But at the end of the day, the point is that they ARE purchasing reference, in whatever form they purchase, and many people still access reference content at the library, whether it's off a physical shelf or off a digital shelf.

Jeff O'Neal • 5 years ago


Polls of library users do show that when a book isn't available at the library, a not-insignificant percentage of them say they go out and buy it. Whether in aggregate libraries foreclose a meaningful number of purchases is tough to measure.

Anecdotally, I check out books from the library that I would have bought had I no free option. I would guess I'm not alone.