Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Libraries, Near and Far

Like so many of you, I am a library user. I have two local libraries, but also a sightly complicated relationship with both of them. I live in a borough that is politically distinct from the township that completely surrounds it, and because of library rules dating back to 1901, my card has to be issued by the borough library.


This doesn't present any problem, but because they are a very small library and not well-supported by our local taxes, they can't afford OverDrive. My card entitles me to check out books from the local County Library system, but it does not allow me to use OverDrive from that same County Library.


I have fought this for years, by writing letters to the County Library Directors and meeting with several of them and presenting my tax bill showing that 70% of the tax money I pay toward libraries as a borough resident goes to the County Library. The answer has always been the same; that's their rule and my only recourse is to join the County Library as a non-resident at a cost of $100/year. I finally gave up that fight.


When Ryan moved to Fort Collins, one of the first things I did on my first visit was to check out the Poudre River Public Library. With three branches (one of them is right across from The Loopy Ewe!), incredibly friendly and caring staff, and an extensive number of books in OverDrive, I decided that I would get a non-resident card. They asked if I paid any taxes in CO, and when I explained that Ryan and I split his property tax bill, they cheerfully gave me a card, along with access to their OverDrive collection. They've been my "local" library for almost four years now, even though they are 1700 miles away. 

And now I've got another "local" library, McCracken County Public Library in Tennessee. I don't remember where I first read about this, but they will issue a computer use only card (free of charge) to you by simply filling out this registration form. I was skeptical, but my card arrived last week, and I've already borrowed two books from their OverDrive collection.



I was surprised, amazed, and grateful, so I called them to ask how to best send a donation. The librarian I spoke to assured me that it wasn't necessary, but I sent a check because I'm happy to support libraries. 

I love libraries both near and far, especially if they are friendly, cater to readers, and are happily willing to share their resources!

15 comments:

  1. As a lifelong library user and a librarian to boot, I appreciate your efforts - both to get your local library system to "get it" (even if they don't) and your willingness to support libraries regardless. We're gonna need all the friends we can get, especially during this administration! Trust me, no one ever gets rich going into librarianship ...

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    1. You certainly get rich in a different way, Bridget. Keeper of the wisdom of the ages, freedom of thought, culture, and the hearts of lots of little people like me when I was small. Thank you!

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  2. I used to be a big library user but since the digital age, I visit infrequently. I have so many books in the house that I own when I buy them from sales that borrowing any makes me feel guilty I'm not reading them. However, I do love visiting when I do. I have to drop in and renew my membership (paid). I love to borrow digital books :)

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  3. I always love seeing how many books you read from Poudre River - are you going to start a McCracken shelf, too? (and poop on your local library(ies) - what a silly set of rules!)

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  4. I'm a lifelong library lover, user, & supporter. Our modest sized local library is part of a region wide system of over 300 libraries that collaborate and share resources such as books, audio & electronic books, & more. I also have access to the local state university library which offers cards & full services (print & electronic) to anyone who lives in our county at no cost. I hope your local library gets on board with the direction libraries are moving.

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  5. This is so great! I found out the other year that anyone (resident) of PA can join the Philadelphia library, so that is my overdrive place primarily. My local library is very nice, but their overdrive selection is sorely lacking compared to the big city. I love the idea of having library cards from all over!

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  6. This post just gave me the chills! McCracken Public Library, you are the best! What an amazing wonder in the great state of Tennessee! And, I agree with what Mary says about your local library - they are missing out, for sure!

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  7. I worked at my one Regional Library for 10 years. I reshelved the library books - 4 hours a day - 5 days a week. And no, it was not fun most of the time - but it still made me feel good to do it. We used to reshelve over 1.5 million books each year!! That number I am sure has gone down since people now check out so many e-books instead of books in print. I donate my books to the library when I'm done with them - for their sales or for the shelves. I take bags in at least once a month - my books and my husbands - all in pristine condition - most of them hard cover! I hope it helps to bring in some much needed money to the library system!

    Linda in VA

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  8. Thank you for this post, Bonny. I live in the great state of TN, which most of the time, I do not view as great. We are generally a typical southern state, red in the extreme except in Memphis and Nashville, and seen as backward, which we generally are. It was wonderful to read that McCracken Co. has such forward thinking! Baby steps. I had not thought about using another library's Overdrive system, but it makes sense. Now I will have to look up which libraries will allow me to do that other than McCracken. I tried once in the past to join the NYC library system, but they said no at the time. It would be marvelous to have access to that trove of books!

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    1. I feel like I've hit the jackpot by being able to use OverDrive from Poudre River and McCracken. The Free Library of Philadelphia has a great OverDrive collection, and while it's not free, they will issue a card to out-of-state residents for $50: https://know.freelibrary.org/MyResearch/register

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  9. I have several library cards myself, even though I work fulltime in a library! For your Pennsylvania readers - anyone with a PA library card with an AccessPA sticker is eligible for a free card for Free Library of Philadelphia, which has a very large Overdrive collection. I have the distinction of living in the ONLY county in Pennsylvania that does not use Overdrive for ebooks. But I'm crafty and can get around it!

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  10. In Massachusetts a resident of ANY community can use their library card at ANY OTHER Massachusetts library. But county systems are a tricky thing and their rules can reflect that. Thanks for your continued support of libraries, it's a wonderful thing. And hooray for OverDrive!

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  11. I had no idea. That is very interesting... frustrating, but interesting! Our local library is part of a larger multi-county system -- very helpful and responsive, which I guess I've always taken for granted!!

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  12. Very interesting! And I'm so happy you've found additional resources. Your post has made me smile today...Poo-der Mom, not Poo-dre! I can hear Daniel now.

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  13. I love our local library (which is one of the best country wide) and I'm sorry every person in this country does not have the same service. So glad you were able to find options!

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