Thoughts on Libraries...

Libraries are Magic!


I remember the feel and smell and wonder of entering the Main Branch of the New York Public Library for the first time as a boy.  That book-y smell still gets to me on a cellular level every time I enter a library or used bookstore (books that have been handled and loved smell different than new books in a bookstore).  The feeling that there were a nearly infinite number of fantastic books to read blew me away as a youngster, and still does today.

Kids learn to have fun with books in libraries...to explore the shelves in search of the perfect one to borrow...to crash on a beanbag chair or the scratchy library-carpet for a while and read while Mom or Dad finds something three stacks over...to listen to an author or other lover of books read with feeling you hadn't imagined possible.

I have supported libraries all of my life, in word and deed, cash and votes, and am constantly borrowing books from the libraries in my life (the school I work for, the town library, and the NYPL).  I was excited to bring my son Ben to the library for his first visit when he was tiny, and can still remember the way he looked as he realized that he could read any/all of those books...blissfully overwhelmed!

It's because of all of this, this feeling that I have, that I'm a friend of my libraries (and libraries in general), that I was surprised to find that I don't agree with what seems to be an accepted tenet of library canon...

The party line would appear to be that loaning out books does not deprive authors of sales.

This seems a ridiculous proposition to me.

I borrow lots of books from my libraries, in both print and ebook format.  After I read them, I return (or delete) them.  If I want to read them again, I'll borrow them again. I don't buy books that I borrow from the library.  It may be that I'm different from most library users, but I'd want to see some compelling evidence before I believed it.

I love libraries, and think that they're a wonderful resource; I feel that way even after publishing my first novel.

I can accept that some money is being taken out of my pocket for some greater good, but have trouble being told that it isn't being taken.



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