Why I’ve Stopped Buying Books: a Short Story by a Library Geek

I’m in love with bookstores.

Walking in, marveling.

Each book representing a new world, a new idea, a different perspective.

The potential to stretch the boundaries of your present reality.

Books are treasures, and I’m a treasure-hoarder.

My favourite souvenir is a book by local authors, or some leather-bound tome that looks older than my grandma (and smells older, too).

I’m frequently delighted by literary finds at flea markets, gleefully hauling away tote bags-full of $1 finds.

Over time, the treasures piled up higher and higher.

A hoarder by nature, I’d tell myself:

I’m building up my life’s library. One day, I’ll read them all.

One day, but not t(w)oday.

(See what I did there?)

The rate of purchase was ridiculously outpacing my reading speed.

(Side note – I’ve hacked my reading speed to increase 2x with these methods written about earlier, but still.)

The books on my shelf represent far more than my reading list.

They represent my interests, what I admire, who I hope to be like, what I empathize with.

Each book is a chapter of my identity; the Me of today but also, and more importantly, the Me I hope to become someday.

I hated the thought of getting rid of my books.

That meant giving up on a hope for future me.

Or did it?

Then came the era of forced minimalism.

I was preferring to use my lunch money on books.

My shelves were running out of space.

My luggage was constantly overweight.

We were moving house, and had to decide what was worth taking and what wasn’t.

With a wave of sad resignation, I knew it was time to relook this love for hoarding books.

“That’s easy to solve!” You may say.

“Haven’t you heard of Kindle? Duh.”

But, there’s something irreplaceable about physical books…

As much as I understand the convenience of going digital…

My Kindle just never stuck.

The action of turning a page, being able to flip ahead and skip around, the weight of all those words in your hand is something I wouldn’t choose to be without.

So, what to do now to avoid building myself a tomestone?

Enter: The National Library

The National Library.

In one fell swoop, I could maintain my love for reading, have more lunch money, and more space in my home.

If you’re not already a frequent visitor of your nearest library… Please do.

It’s been life-changing for me.

So life-changing, I wrote a whole preamble to share why I love the library so much and how I’ve been able to stop hoarding books.

3 Reasons to Love the National Library:

1. She gives me pretty much free access to every title

Whilst borrowing is free, I prefer reserving books ahead of time to ensure it’s available at my closest library.

This is just $1.55 a book (basically the cost of transporting it from one library to another).

And if a title’s not there – you can shamelessly suggest to the NLB to acquire it!

2. Her loan periods gently nudge me to actually get reading

Instead of waiting for that One Day, I’m more disciplined with my reading due to the time pressure of loaning.

Still, the loan periods are generous and go from 2 weeks to 4 weeks with a renewal.

3. She helps me discover books in all shapes and forms

Asides from physical books, many digital resources are also available for free.

I’ve particularly started to enjoy audiobooks. There are also plenty of ebooks if, unlike me, you’re a Kindle user.

The NLB app is my go-to for acquiring new books now.

You can download it from here:
https://www.nlb.gov.sg/static/nlbmobileguide/

Asides from searching and reserving material, renewing loans and paying fees can also be done through the app.

 

Are you a big library geek too? Let me know in the comments!

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