May 21, 2011

Pajama Musings - The worst library of them all

After reading Rikki of Rikki's Teleidoscope complain about her awful library in her blog post 9 reasons why our library sucks I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. If you think the description of her local library is bad, you should see the one in my hometown.

A friend of mine suggested I should check out libraries for "even cheaper reads" after I excitedly mentioned how great it was to buy used books. My online search was a long one and at first I only found libraries from local schools. I had admittedly almost given up when the thought hit me that maybe I should check out my hometown's website. And, lo and behold, there it was. The local library.

I live in a town with about 20.000 inhabitants and, to my knowledge, there is only one public library. Things could be worse. There could be no library at all.

The library opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 15:00 and 18:30. They offer roughly 8.000 fiction books, 3.000 non-fiction and 2.000 children’s books (according to the info on the hompage of my hometown). They have no website, they don’t even have a phone. And the building isn't what I would call centrally located. Needless to say I never dared to check it out, because I would probably run away crying. Or offend the librarian by asking "Uhm, where's the rest?". And then run away crying.

Not easily giving up I did some more research and ventured north and south of where I live.
South - a town about the size of my own hometown, with about 25.000 inhabitants, there is a relatively big public library that offers roughly 27.000 books, is open on four days a week, one being Saturday, and is right in the center of town just a stonethrow from the train station.
North (and let's not be shy, I'm talking about the capital here) - there are obviously dozens of libraries, but if I just went for the nearest one, things are definitly looking brighther. Open five days a week, with long hours every day, you can choose from 32.700 books for adults, 11.500 children's books and tons of other media (CDs, DVDs, games, etc) and basically you just need to get off the train and are there.

Apart from the fact that I obviously live in the town with the lousiest library in the whole country (or maybe the whole continent), I never checked these two alternatives out for myself. Getting on the train costs me both money and time so in the end it’s no-library-for-me ... but with my towering TBR stacks it's fortunatelly not the end of the world for this girl.


  1. I live in a small town, but our saving grace is a big university around it. So the library might not have the choice I want but it offers online reservation, so if and when they have the book you want you just come and pick it up. And it's 2 mins walk from my house.:)) But I am fortunate here, it wasn't the case in other places I lived, so I know the pain...

  2. That sounds like a pretty lousy library, Birgit! I feel sorry for you. I live in a town of 50,000 inhabitants and my library is quite fine. It doesn't have everything I want to read, but it can order a lot of different books from other libraries in the neighbourhood and further away. I can't complain.

  3. Oh Gott, Birgit, das ist ja schlimmer als ich dachte. Selbst eine 20.000 Einwohner Stadt sollte mehr haben als das, das ist ja lächerlich! Ich würde da schon aus purer Neugierde hingehen und mich mal umschauen.
    Allerdings halte ich das Argument "billiges Lesen" relativ unwirksam, denn es kommt ja immer auf die Auswahl an. Selbst in meiner Bücherei (das klingt jetzt so, als sei ich stolz auf sie, Gott bewahre!) gibt es Bücher nicht, die laut meinem Verständnis selbstverständlich sein sollten.

  4. Das wird dann garantiert die Exkursion des Grauens, wenn ich es einmal wagen sollte, diese Bibliothek aufzusuchen ...

  5. I think I'm quite lucky with my libraries :). Except for the faculty one at my university. The computers there are barely working and lots of the most basic books on some areas in my field (not the best known and mostly used areas, but still... well, I'm majoring in English, and they don't have the best-known book on modern dramas and theatre... I mean, it's not that I was searching for microbiology or stuff like that in English)...

  6. Ack ... even if "normal" libraries can suck simply because of their size, I think those at Uni should provide a wide range of books in all fields. I remember mine quite fondly, not least to the broad variety and number of books (in 2009 they had 2,6 million books)!