We used to open the libraries between Boxing day & New Years Eve, but now we don't. Basically, we are down to so few staff, it's cheaper to give the libraries the same time off as the rest of the council, and save on heating costs.
It will mean a hugely busy day when we open, though!
Which brings me on to e-readers. Although quite a few of the library staff have Kindles & Kobos, I have resisted.
But I've always thought the often heard phrase that e-readers will be the death of libraries is flawed, on the basis that if that was the case, charity shop books would have had the same effect years ago.
True, we get people coming in saying they don't use the library now they have a Kindle. But we also get more and more saying they can't afford to buy e-books, and they are very easy to click and buy, and are returning to the library.
Yes, there are hundreds of titles to download on Amazon for 99p, but those 99p's quickly add up when you read two or three books a week. Some of our library customers get through more than that, and they want the new releases. The best selling titles by their favourite authors, and they won't get them any cheaper than the hardback version.
A while back we had a power cut that lasted two days. (Amazingly we haven't had any during the recent storms). I mentioned to my other half that I could see the advantage of the Kindle paperwhite, with it's backlight. As long as it's charged, reading in the dark is no problem.
Turn That Light Off!
He offered to buy me one, and I grabbed the opportunity.
So here are my thoughts.
Yes, it's easy to read the larger print with the good light that is effective in sunlight as well as indoors. I've got a case that automatically turns it off when I close it, and finds my place when I open it.
As a friend of mine said, it's easy to read while you're eating or drinking. You don't have a fiddly page to turn, just a touch of the screen.
But I like to see how thick a book is before I start, and have a quick scan through. I'm not too keen on dialogue written in regional dialects, etc. For that reason I still find it much easier to look for a book I would enjoy by scanning the library shelves. My colleagues have agreed with me here.
It's also nice to read a book then pass it on. Easy with a real book. Not quite legal with a Kindle, if you see what I mean!
(Easier with other e-readers, though)
Our library service has been looking into offering e-books to download free for a while. They download on your e-reader and are automatically removed after the 3 week loan. There is a limit to how many copies are available to download, just like real library books. This will be a free service, but it's not happened yet.
However, once I had my Kindle I logged in to my parents library service, registered, got e-mailed my card number and easily got on to their e-reader catalogue, which was great!
There was a long list of e-readers compatible with it. Lots and lots....I didn't know there were so many.
No Kindle, though!
Kindle belongs at a book selling company. They don't want you reading the latest best sellers for free! Strangely Kobo, which is owned by W.H.Smith, has no such restrictions.
I wish I had known this before I bought it, but still. I have downloaded some freebies, but I would just say they're OK when you don't have much else to read.
But what I do like is sitting in front of my stove, with just the lights from the flames and the Christmas tree, while the wind blows and rain hits the window, reading from the light of the Kindle.
And while we still get people telling us there won't be libraries in the future, we just remind them. Libraries were built to provide free reading. Now they also provide free Internet for those who cannot afford it at home. In the small branch I work in we have free reading groups, singing groups, art groups, knitting groups, coffee mornings, free help with the new on line benefit system....plus additional events held throughout the year like author visits and fund-raising tea parties.
I would recommend checking out your local library service online and see what you can get, free!
ps I like a bit of British crime & have just finished The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling).
It's a good read!