This is a photo of one of the rooms in the library where I borrow most of the books I read. It's called Bromley House Library and it stands smack bang in Nottingham's busy city centre. You'd never guess it was there from the outside. The ground floor entrance way is bracketed by two shops that pay rent to the library for the premises. The library itself is situated on the floors above, but has a ground floor back entrance to a wonderful 'secret' garden.The library is a grade II listed building, originally built in 1752, and has been a library since 1822.
It's not public, but subscription but at £50.00 a year - less than £1.00 a week, it hardly breaks the bank and it's well worth the fee to be a member of such a wonderful place. It houses a collection of over 35,000 books, ranging from rare manuscripts and tomes (a herbal of 1597 for e.g.) to the latest bestsellers. Daily papers and a selection of magazines (such as History Today and National Geographic) are available to the members. A grandfather clock ticks quietly in a corner. There are comfortable chairs dotted about in strategic corners and thoughtfully placed reading lamps. Even a pair of binoculars for bird-watching in the garden. Proper tea and coffee out of proper china cups is always available. The staff have time to talk. The books to be borrowed are recorded hand-written in ledgers. Computers do exist, but they are discreetly tucked away behind a screen and are only used in an administrative capacity. No one comes to Bromley house to faff about on a PC. They come for what a library should truly be about - choosing and borrowing books, or studying them in a tranquil, unhurried 'respectful' atmosphere that reaches out and welcomes you from the moment you walk through the doors.
As to my borrowing habits. The library is where I suss out new authors whom I might buy if I like them enough. I tend to borrow thrillers because I know that they're unlikely to be keepers. Novels by the likes of Lee Child are great reads, but fodder for one consumption only, so the library is great for feeding that particular habit. I choose books for my husband there. Working full time he can't get to the library himself, so I bring him a selection. Some are hits, some are misses. He's just dumped the latest Flashman, declaring it a 'same old same old,' but is currently reading Memoirs of A Geisha and is deeply engrossed.
When reading, I mentally score books. Any author achieving between 9 and 10 out of 10 are put on my autobuy list. Thrillers and authors scoring between 6 and 8 out of 10 will go onto my library list i.e. I like them but not enough to be keepers. Less than a 6 and I put it down to experience! On a good week these days I probably read around 2 novels. A bad week and it's 1 or less than 1 depending on size. The last library book I read was Daisy Faye and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg - 8 out of 10.
So, what's your local library like and how much do you use it/what are your borrowing habits?