What do you do when your local library is going to be closed for 7 months?

It’s not a great library, but it’s better than nothing!  The closest other library in the system is 30 min away in the next town, which we only go near when I have to drop off voter registration forms.  (That will drop off a lot once students settle in.)

DC1 will be ok because hir school library is already better than the local library for hir reading needs (they have multiple copies of popular YA books, unlike our local library which has long wait lists and series gaps that take a long time to replace when a kid loses a book).

What would you do?  Where do you and yours get reading material?

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38 Responses to “What do you do when your local library is going to be closed for 7 months?”

  1. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    AAAAARGH! How can you even close the public library for seven months?!? I would be very woeful.

    I rely heavily on library books and especially ebooks- though there are a lot of printed books our library doesn’t have as ebooks. I’m debating paying for a NYPL membership so I can get *their* ebooks too. For a while I still had a card in Cold City which was great, but it expired.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My card from the Paradise library system is about to expire too, but I haven’t found any ebooks from there to read in a while (I binged hardcore and may have exhausted their supply, though I’m sure there are still some hiding that I could read if I just knew enough to find them). :(

    • ocmags Says:

      Wait, wait, wait. Jenny F. Scientist. You cannot just drop a comment like that and walk away! You can pay for a NYPL membership? How? I’m not seeing it on their website, and I would be very on board with doing so.

      (I’ve exhausted my local ebook options while nursing at night– I read all the books I wanted to read in the local library’s collection. Then the books that weren’t great, but were mostly readable. I’ve been stuck in “this book probably won’t be great, but I’ll try it anyway…oh, argh, I can’t stand this thing” land for months.)

  2. rose Says:

    Ask at Mayor’s office if arrangements can be made to have mobile library once a week deliver requested books to your town. Ask if closest libraries can arrange to have e-books available for your library members by recognizing your town library cards. Put out a sign up sheet so you have a ‘carpool’ that does a library run once every two weeks to pick up reserved books at near library of size that will temporarily take your town’s cards. FInd out if there is state funded library in your state that lets all state residents use that library, get card and do ebooks. (San Francisco Public Library is one in CA.) Talk to your local school and see if there is space for a temporary library site. Ask Mayor’s office what other solutions they have considered.
    I thought you were connected to a university… what do they have in their library and can you use that resource?
    Contact a friend and arrange to have them check out books on your behalf and mail them back and forth
    VASTLY and horrifically expand your budget for reading and buy books……… this would bankrupt me.
    MUCH SYMPATHY. This would really be hard.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Apparently the system hasn’t had a bookmobile since the mid 1980s! It seems our town didn’t even have a library until then!!! (Though the school system in the town next to ours has a bookmobile that they use for the school libraries, but it doesn’t visit our town.) When the library in Paradise shut one of its sections down for remodeling, they sent out their bookmobile more often, but alas, not here.

      No state funded library in our state.

      We do have a university library. It isn’t so great with fiction, though it is excellent with nonfiction and journals. I think if I liked a higher class of fiction (the kind analyzed by English professors) it might be more helpful. I grew up reading old children’s books (1950s-1970s) from my hometown’s university library from back when that library had a lab school, but no such luck with my current university.

      • becca Says:

        Just ILL everything via the uni library. They may even deliver them to your building on campus via intercampus mail or something.
        The librarians in your uni library are highly paid specialists who *can* get you anything in the world, but they are still *librarians* and you might .make friends when they see what you read ;-)
        At least, that’s how it went down for me in grad school.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I always feel guilty using ILL for pleasure reading, though #2 says I shouldn’t.

      • rose Says:

        TOTALLY ILL!!!!!!!! Absolutely. It is good for the system. ILL systems are the greatest and wonderful. Becca and #2 right.
        (If you need to feel guilty find something that warrants that negative emotion; using an existing system to read does not.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dunno, I just did a quick google and there are plenty of university libraries saying that pleasure reading is not an ok use of the ILL system (mine doesn’t specify though)

      • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

        I would also feel guilty using ILL for anything other than necessity—it is an essential service for some research, but it is very expensive.

        “Interlibrary loan (ILL) is notoriously labor-intensive, making it one of the more expensive services typically offered by libraries. In the past 20 years, ILL has become a core service, since no library can afford to buy everything its patrons might need.” [https://www.oclc.org/research/themes/systemwide-library/interlibrary-cost-calculator.html]

        Twenty years ago it cost about $28 on average for two libraries to fill an ILL request. It is almost certainly more now. Libraries are better off doing purchase on demand for mass-market items.
        “Jackson, Mary E. Measuring the Performance of Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Services (PDF) ARL: A Bimonthly Newsletter of Research Library Issues and Actions Issue 195.(December 1997). Jackson found that on average, the unit cost to research libraries to borrow an item on interlibrary loan is $18.35, and the cost to lend an item is $9.48. Average borrowing turnaround time is 16 calendar days, the borrowing fill rate is 85%, and the lending fill rate is 58%.” [http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/cost-analysis]

      • Jenny F. Scientist Says:

        This is not a solution for you, but when I was at Snooty U (which had a whole room of fiction! A small room but still) they had an enormous book purchase fund so I’d request something like 20 paperbacks a year and they bought every single one. It was great.

      • Steph Says:

        The ILL librarians at my undergrad told me to request whatever I wanted, because the college only looked at volume to see if staff numbers, etc, were justified. I just put “n/a” in the course/research reasons section. And we had a “EZ-Borrow” system that was like DIY ILL, where you made the requests yourself from networked libraries. I worked at the circ desk for a year and like 50% of ILL/EZ-borrow was pleasure reading. My grad school ILL department never complained when I requested cooking and craft books.

        You could ask the ILL folks directly if you’re worried, or just test one book and see if they grump at you about it.

  3. delagar Says:

    Our local library sucks, but at least it has managed to stay open. The Kid has moved 55 miles away to the wonderful university town, and I visited their public library when we were up there. A library with books in it! Amazing!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I know! I am pretty sure they’re expanding our current library building, but I have to wonder if they’ll be getting any more books to put into it… They’re already half empty in the children’s section every summer (which they disguise by having each shelf be half full).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      p.s. We’ve tried to comment on your blog in sympathy– food poisoning is the worst– but they don’t seem to have gone through. Don’t think we haven’t been sympathetic! It’s probably a wordpress/blogspot disagreement. :/

      • delagar Says:

        Thank you! It’s been terrible. On the other hand, because I lack the strength to do almost anything else, I’ve been reading tons!

  4. EB Says:

    Why is it going to be closed for 7 months? repairs? replace the building? Our library was closed for 2 years while the city tore down the old library which was massively overcrowded and re-built, but they rented an empty business (Pep Boys, if I remember correctly) and took most of the most popular books over there. It wasn’t great, but at least we had a library and access to librarians.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Expansion. They’ve been working on it for several months already but now they need to tear out interior walls and stuff.

      I don’t know what they’re going to do with the librarians or the books. All they’ve told us is to use the library in the next town over which is part of the same system. (They’d already told us that we would have to use the other library’s bookdrop if we wanted to return books outside of regular library hours.)

  5. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    We have two library branches within 1.3 miles and third one about 2.5 miles away, so closing one branch would not cut us off from library services. We are likely to have the biggest and closest branch closed for a while, as they are talking about rebuilding it. The plans are a bit controversial, as they are planning to combine it with a big parking garage.

    I’ve not been relying on the library much for the past decade—I mostly bought paperbacks at a good used bookstore which just closed down a year ago. I’ve been buying used paperbacks at the one good remaining bookstore in town, but their selection is much smaller in the stuff I read, so I’ve been doing more re-reading of the the 3000 or so paperbacks I own already.

  6. Solitary Diner Says:

    I was about to respond to this post by indignantly crying about the fact that my library is closed for an entire year…but there’s another library that is only 5 minutes farther away by car, so I really can’t complain. Maybe consider a subscription to an eBook service for the duration of the interruption? It sucks to have to pay for a service you previously got for free, but it might be worth it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s an idea– do you know of any ebook services besides the one from Amazon? (And has anyone tried the one from Amazon? Is it worth it? I don’t find the free prime thing to be worth it– after DC1 finished a specific series we haven’t used the one book a month thing at all.)

      Sorry your library is closed, but you’re right that a 5 min longer drive isn’t that bad! DH thinks we’ll probably go to the other city more often now, but our local library is(was) on my way home from work, so it was easy to stop by once a week or so. (In Paradise we could walk to the wonderful library… sigh.)

      • slnoonanj Says:

        Have you tried Kindle Unlimited? Like Prime, but with more books. We used it for our kids for a while. Didn’t have everything, but there was a good variety. Kids are in high school now, so most of their reading is related to school, with an occasional book purchase here and there, so it didn’t make sense for us to keep it. But it worked well for us for a good while.

  7. Scott @ Costa Rica FIRE Says:

    My wife just recently started using a free service called Bookbub and LOVES it – gives Kindle recommendations for free, .99 and 1.99 books on topics you tell it you are interested in. A relatively cheap alternative to the library.

  8. Mrs PoP Says:

    Ours was closed after the hurricane last year for ~6 months, so I feel your pain. For me, I got a card for the library the next county over since the next closest library in my system was a solid 20-25 minute drive away. While I don’t go to that county’s libraries often, I use it for requests and doubled my access to ebooks, so got pretty used to reading them instead of paper. Any chance they have a program for you to do something similar?

    What about a library sale? Are the friends of the library going to host one? This seems like as good an excuse as any to bring a box with you and go nuts with used book purchases (with the read then re-donate intent). You get books, FoL gets some cash, and all is well? Maybe?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hm, I have no idea what kind of ebook access other counties have. All the surrounding counties are even more rural, but it is possible that one of the cities sells access for a price. Our system sells access to people in bordering counties.

      I don’t know when the next friends of the library sale will be. Good thing to find out.

  9. Debbie M Says:

    My library is also closed for 7-ish months right now. Ours is closed for “renovations.” My librarians were most excited about the replacement of the “filthy carpets,” which I hadn’t even noticed. I feel like the library just opened, but I guess that was ten years ago. I guess my house *really* needs renovating. I’ve heard they’re going to completely re-organize the shelves, too, though–I’m wondering if I really will find it more user-friendly.

    They are providing a bookmobile in a nearby park for a few hours (3 pm to 7 pm, I believe) Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s pretty awesome–I love how the kids’ books are on the lower shelves, etc. However, I actually didn’t find anything I wanted to check out. (When I found out about the closure, I actually wrote to my city council member asking them to fund a bookmobile in the parking lot so kids could walk there–this isn’t as good as what I asked for, but I am so, so glad that kids can still get to the library themselves, though the park is at one end of our neighborhood and the library is in the middle, so it’s definitely much less convenient for some kids. All because I’m in activist mode for some reason these days!)

    We have also been advised to visit two specific other branches, one of which is the one from which we must pick up our inter-library loan books. These are easy driving distance, but not at all walking distance, and they are in kind of scary parts of town. So I haven’t been going to them–there’s another library near my doctor and a pretty good branch of one of our local grocery stores that I sometimes visit.

    But I’ve mostly been using this time to catch up on books that I own and that I have checked out from the university library. And to read books my boyfriend has recommended (finally I’m reading all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels–what took me so long?)

    Good luck getting through this tough time!

  10. Allison Says:

    Lucky you! A library closing for renovations! Under Conservative leadership, where I live in London, libraries are closing right and left. Our local library closed, then reopened with limited hours /access, and many opening hours with no staff other than a security guard. Children under sixteen are not allowed in without a parent during those times (never mind that libraries are the only place for many underprivileged kids to study) and there’s no one to help you find anything. Many books seem to be missing, and most of the books on my child’s summer reading list (assigned by the local public school) were not part of the stock. Every time I visit family and friends in the States, I cry over the gorgeous libraries!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m guessing you’ve never been to a small town in the south. Also in the us children aren’t really allowed anywhere without an adult. No summer reading lists either and my kid is mandated to learn that slavery was but one small factor leading to the civil war. I mean I don’t want to play who has it worse under conservative leadership but we do have a terrible health insurance system and Donald Trump. You’re not going to win this one.

      • Anu Says:

        Maybe this is my blue state privilege showing but are children under *16* really not allowed anywhere without parents? That’s really not a US-wide thing. I see my neighbors’ 11 year old with his friends at the park without adults pretty often and teens on public transit alone.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It was a little hyperbole (high schoolers are generally allowed into the public library alone, but not middle schoolers) but no, our 9 year old could play outside without us no problem in paradise but as an 11 year old here there generally needs to be an adult present. It varies a bit by neighborhood. (And you do have to be 16 to use the pool without an adult present even with a lifeguard.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        (I bet teens take public transit alone in London too. Here the question is: what is public transit?)

  11. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  12. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    We rely heavily on our local library for ebooks for me and regular books for JB. We aren’t that far away from other local libraries though so we could manage for a while. I don’t know if they would let us borrow their e-books though. Doesn’t seem like they do now. :/

    MAYBE Kindle Unlimited might be wortha it for you?

  14. ocmags Says:

    Our library was closed for several months a couple of years ago. They were renovating, just like yours is. If your library hasn’t closed yet, ask the librarians if they’re going to allow people extended check-out periods during the closure. Ours basically let people check out a ton of books in the weeks before they closed and allowed us to keep them until they reopened.

    I checked out a lot of books, but of course not enough to carry me. I think that I coasted through on rereading my own books and also visiting a nearby used bookstore.

  15. ocmags Says:

    …oh, and one more thing– in our state (Colorado) anyone in the state can do an online application for a library card to the Denver library, which is useful for ebooks. It may be worth checking to see if your state capital’s public library does something similar.


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