you're reading...
Book Business

Bad news from my beloved library…

Last weekend, I received a bad news from my librarian…..

She told me that from 2 January 2013 onwards the library will be charging 60p to reserve a title.

This news cut deeper than a knife. It hurts me more than someone telling me I won’t be eating Walkers crisps for a month, or the train is delayed for two hours again, or I won’t be getting a pay rise this year, or we won’t be having spicy noodle for lunch today, or my son lost his school bag……

It hurts so bad that when I think of it again, it still hurts.

It is all because of these cuts in public services. Fuel price goes up, food price rockets, train fare to London to increase another 8% this January 2013. They can increase everything but the one thing they shouldn’t do, is to charge me 60p to reserve a library book.

What can I do next?

Well, I followed the advice of my librarian, I max out my library loan and reserved the library books I have always wanted like a mad woman. I downloaded ebooks from Amazon.co.uk for free or for 20p (Expats by Chris Pavone and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson). I can get used books from as low as 25p to £1. I have to watch closely what new books arrive in my local library, which is within walking distance (I don’t drive), which I can grab hold off quickly.

Or perhaps I should just learn to read books from my own shelf rather than borrowing from the library. Assuming I could finish 70 books a year, at 300 books (plus 130 books on Kindle), it would take me 6 years to finish every book I own. 😉

Does this apply to your local library? I know that was the same policy London Westminster Library enforced. Nonetheless I still feel very sad.

So for now I will share some pictures of my local beloved Battle Library in Reading which I took about 18 months ago when it first opened after a year long refurbishment.

In this picture, behind the windows with grill is the non-fiction section.

This is the children section. Those are my two boys when they were 3+ and 5+.

My little one is fascinated with the door lock of the caravan. The caravan are stocked with books and stuffed cuddle toys.

The local library organised craft lesson, children story telling session. The librarians here Carol and Harriet are so lovely. They kept books of dinosaurs for my boys without me asking and one day helped me to clean up when my boy fell ill and threw up on the carpet.

I pay great tribute to my local library and librarians. Without them, where would my boys and I be?


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


42 thoughts on “Bad news from my beloved library…

  1. What a pretty library! And how sad that they have to charge to put a hold. I smiled when you said it hurts more than not getting Walkers crisps for a month since I LOVE Walkers Salt and Vinegar and only get it when I go to the UK

    Posted by Helen Murdoch | December 21, 2012, 9:39 pm
    • Helen,
      Ohh… Helen you have to try the Walkers Sensations that comes in black packets. My favourite flavours are the Goat Cheese and Monterrey Chilli and the other one is The Mexican Capote crisps! You must try it when you go London again or get your brother to bring you some! 😀

      Posted by JoV | December 21, 2012, 11:10 pm
  2. Here is Cornwall the cost of reserving a book has gone up from 50p to 75p with no warning whatsoever. And now the charge hits when you take the book out rather than when you place the reservation. Which sounded like a small consolation until I discovered that there was nothing to stop you being charged twice for books reserved before the change but collected after. It’s madness and so shortsighted, because surely library reservations don’t generate that much income.

    Posted by FleurFisher | December 21, 2012, 9:43 pm
    • Fleur,
      You mean you get charged for reserving AND taking a book out? That’s outrageous! Surely this could result in a complaint? I think it wouldn’t make a lot of difference whether they charge or not, at the back of my head I’m wondering if they are sick of getting too many reservations or people who abuse the service that they decided to put a charge to it to make sure users think twice before they reserve anything?

      I don’t know, I have given up guessing the reasons behind this move and perhaps resort to stocking my own books again (much to my husband’s chagrin, as my house is already full of books!). 😦

      Posted by JoV | December 21, 2012, 11:18 pm
      • If you report the double charge it gets cancelled, but I’m sure a lot of people won’t notice, and surely it should have been possible to have the system sort it out given that everything is dated.

        My best guess is that a small proportion of users reserve books, and someone somewhere feels they are monopolising new and populur books and those who just browse shelves are losing out.

        Most of what I reserve comes from reserve stock that isn’t on the shelves though, and there is no way to borrow those books without paying.

        Posted by FleurFisher | December 22, 2012, 8:40 pm
        • Jane,
          My library used a very good system, they put new and popular books on Bestseller short loan list. User can loan these books for one week, renew if you want but does force the user to be conscious of bringing it back. Anyway, Vive Le bibliothèque!

          Posted by JoV | December 23, 2012, 12:13 am
  3. Oh, Jo – this is indeed bad news – and something that our Nova Scotia libraries have not deemed necessary to date. That policy would cost me a small fortune since nearly every book I borrow from the library, I’ve reserved on-line.

    You’ve brought out some good alternatives though – thanks!

    Posted by debbierodgers | December 21, 2012, 11:13 pm
    • Debbie,
      I know! Perhaps the library doesn’t know what impact this would be on the lending rate if this happens. I thought library management was suppose to encourage people to read not deter them to borrow and read! I would read more ebooks that is for sure. If I look closely I may get books for £0.99 or 20p from Amazon.co.uk whispernet if it’s on offer. I may also have to resort to “stalking” the books that I want so that I could trace which library it has been stocked and rotated. 😦

      Posted by JoV | December 21, 2012, 11:30 pm
  4. Our library has charged 60p for a few years now. I only order books I read reviews of in the newspapers and they often take months to arrive but at least it’s cheaper than buying them. The annoying thing is that if I reserve a book and they eventually find that they can’t supply it they still charge me 60p for the cost of their administration. At least we are going to get a brand new library in 2013. Have a wonderful Christmas

    Posted by acommonreaderuk | December 22, 2012, 8:06 am
    • Tom,
      Thanks for bringing it up Tom. My library sent around a communique today and told us if they can’t supply it, they will refund the charge.
      Looks like there is no free lunch from the library from now on…
      Have a wonderful Christmas too.

      Posted by JoV | December 23, 2012, 12:03 am
  5. My library charges 50p a book, but I’m not sure if that is increasing next year. I wouldn’t be too worried if it did increase to 60p as it is still an excellent service and if I can get to read a brand new release for only 60p instead of paying full price in a shop I still think it is a bargain. I do like the idea of reserving loads of books now though – I might just go and do that anyway 🙂

    Posted by farmlanebooks | December 22, 2012, 3:01 pm
    • Jackie,
      Yeah the setback is that if we want to read something new, we will have to pay. My neighbourhood charity shops only charge 50p for used books.
      I think reserving loads of books is a good idea!

      Posted by JoV | December 23, 2012, 12:05 am
  6. Hi Jo,

    My library charges a full pound!!! It has done this for about 12 months now and you have to be really careful. I have found myself being charged a pound for a book that has been taken off the shelves and stored in the library basement. I really want to support my library as much as possible to keep it open but when there are more attractive options such as Kindle and charity shops it turns into a bit of a no brainer!! Love your library by the way!

    Posted by Julie | December 22, 2012, 4:22 pm
    • Julie,
      My goodness Julie. Is this a library in London? Brighton? How high a charge to reserve a library book!
      Yes there are some attractive options on Kindle. I think I got the Kindle just in time. 😉

      Posted by JoV | December 23, 2012, 12:07 am
      • No Jo just Kendal !! Our library try to ‘justify’ it by stating that Cumbria is the largest and most sparsely populated county in the country therefore the poor little library van has to travel lots of miles to pick up books!! I now browse the online library catalogue to see which of my choices are actually at Kendal then I just keep going in hoping to find it, starting to look a bit like a library lurker! Oh and if you want a book from the Britsh library collection in Boston Spa it costs £8.

        Posted by Julie | December 23, 2012, 12:07 pm
  7. That is bad news. I used to live in Redbridge (London borough) and they would charge £1 per reservation, even if it was from within the same borough. Now I live in Essex and it’s free and they have practically every book you could ever want in their large library system.
    Can you register for the library near where you work? If it’s in a different area, most allow you to do this.

    Posted by Sam (Tiny Library) | December 22, 2012, 8:31 pm
    • Sam,
      I registered with Westminster Marylebone Library in London where I work, which charge 60p for a reservation too, except their selection is wider so I usually could get what I want from the Marylebone library itself. Anyway, I’ll start book stalking and track down the books I want to read at my local library….
      Thanks for the idea Sam.

      Posted by JoV | December 23, 2012, 12:10 am
  8. My local library hasn’t taken to charging for reservations. Yet. I always feel like a new charge will crop up with all of the things I like or use, much as you’ve experienced. 😦

    Your library is absolutely beautiful; I can imagine those restorations may have cost a pretty penny, but it’s a shame that they have to charge for patrons to reserve a title.

    Posted by Coffee & a BookChick (@CoffeeBookChick) | December 22, 2012, 11:28 pm
  9. In Melbourne they charge to reserve but the strange thing is that they get down their books from sister libraries in the same vicinity within a day for you with no charge!

    Posted by Mystica | December 23, 2012, 5:12 am
  10. This library looks beautiful. I live in a mega city bigger than London which has no public libraries at all. I think it has hurt the country in a lot of ways. With a kindle you can get a forever supply of free books

    Posted by Mel u | December 23, 2012, 9:39 am
  11. Oh that is crazy! How can you have to pay to reserve a book! That’s just like saying that you would like to read a book next. Why does that require you to pay? I guess this is what happens when library funding is cut. How a government can think that making library services paid is the right way to go in our society baffles me. What will it be next? That you should pay to read?

    Posted by Athira | December 23, 2012, 1:59 pm
    • Athira,
      It almost sounds as if I have to pay to read now. For us book bloggers perhaps it’s one way of stopping us reading more than what we have got at home but can you imagine people who don’t read and wanted to? That would deter would-be avid readers to be come an avid one. 😦

      Posted by JoV | December 25, 2012, 7:37 am
  12. What a lovely library. I’m sorry to hear you will have to pay for something which used to be free. That’s always hard to take, isn’t it? I also find a bit absurd to pay to reserve a book.

    Posted by Caroline | December 23, 2012, 2:20 pm
    • Thanks Caroline. I think reading should be a birth right and I think paying to reserve book just stops one from exercise the rights. hey ho, there are few things in life are free now.

      Posted by JoV | December 25, 2012, 7:39 am
  13. What you’ve described there didn’t happen in my library…fortunately.

    Wow…the library looks so comfortable. I wish I have that kind of library here

    Posted by Novroz | December 23, 2012, 2:37 pm
  14. ours has charged for a number of years but still pay as I have to get the books from round library system I want on the whole ,happy christmas ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | December 24, 2012, 1:06 pm
  15. Not sure if you got my e-mail, but you are the winner of the Oxford Japanese Short Story Collection! Please e-mail me with full name and address, and I’ll get it off to you as soon as I can 🙂

    Posted by Tony | December 25, 2012, 1:06 am
  16. 60p is cheap. It’s a £1 at my library. I don’t begrudge the cost though, because it would cost me 3 or 4x more that to buy the book.

    Posted by kimbofo | December 26, 2012, 6:32 pm
    • Kim,
      If you add 59p on £1 or for £0.99 Amazon Kindle daily deal or sales will allow you to own the book. I agree that I won’t get to read the latest book hot out of the oven with that price unless I pay the reservation charge.

      Posted by JoV | December 26, 2012, 9:04 pm
  17. OMG, this is so sad. we are still so fortunate in the US, at least in Illinois. all free, unlimited requests through the 80 libraries in our system or even any library in the State. you only have to pay if the book you want is only available in a library outside Illinois.
    and CDs, DVDs are free, magazines, etc. also lots of options for ebooks and audiobooks for free download.
    hurting for you

    Posted by WordsAndPeace | December 27, 2012, 1:57 am
  18. What a lovely library. I can’t imagine paying to place a hold. I’d be broke.

    Posted by Ti | December 27, 2012, 3:23 am
  19. That looks like a total dear of a library! And I am so sorry about the new fees for reserving books. I’d be wrecked if that were the case at my library. I am constantly wanting old weird books that only exist at one particular branch, or only in the storage section that you have to order ahead, and if I couldn’t reserve them without a fee — ugh. It’d be awful. I am sorry! Poor you!

    Posted by Jenny | December 28, 2012, 2:27 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 276 other subscribers

Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

%d bloggers like this: