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05 April 2008



I find a visit to my local library (small market town) quite a bizarre experience these days. All the old and/or classic books seem to have vanished. The shelves are now full of chick lit and other recent works - plenty of crime fiction too - mostly with brightly coloured spines.

I understand. They are having to compete in a world where book buying is cheaper than it used to be (goodness knows, I buy loads now, where I used to get armfuls on loan instead) and with the internet. But it really does LOOK peculiar.

Roy B

Yes, it's a sad state of affairs. I have fond memories of libraries from my younger days - like you I went through the alphabet of SF, and discovered many marvellous things. Ballard, Burroughs (E.R. and W.S.) - great days. And they did feel like uplifting places. It has been a while since I've felt my heart lift in a public library environment. By contrast, I have been to a couple of secondhand bookshops that are very civilised and exciting places to be - with places to read and refreshments - and the possibilities of finding strange and exciting works. (These were in Alnwick and Inverness; in a converted station and chapel respectively - perhaps it's a northern thing.)


AlisonK - Not being a fan of chick lit myself, I have also noticed the proliferation of it in local libraries and felt bad about it. Then again, most book shops have piles of it too!

You say that "book buying is cheaper than it used to be" - is it? I'm not sure about that. Maybe it's just that we've been directed towards the ownership of "stuff" more in our current society. Or maybe there are more paperbacks and discount bookshops.

Roy - Thank you for adding your comment and for sharing your experiences. It's somehow quite comforting to know that I'm not alone in feeling like this about libraries. The second hand book shops you mention sound lovely! I need to come up with a reason to go to Inverness now. :)

Roy B

Here's a picture to be going on with (open fire not pictured!) :



That's just stunning! (And reminds me a bit of the library set in Buffy...).

Roy B

That's the answer - if the Libraries Association in the UK would employ Giles as a consultant, all would be well...


But then the libraries would be overrun by screaming fangirls... ;)


I used to love my local library when I was growing up. Problem was that got rid of the tatty books after a while, even if they were my favourites (which obviously they had no way of knowing). Then I found second hand shops, which let me keep them to re-read later, with no chance of them disappearing.

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