Library love: An Ode To Book Borrowing Joy

As the old adage goes, the best things in life are free and libraries are certainly one such proof of that.

Not many things come without an admission fee these days but the public library remains one of the few places you can visit to read, work, discover new passions and expand your mind, all without cost.

Amongst shelves stacked with the likes of Shakespeare, Eliot, Austen, Bronte and Dickens, you’re welcome to pull up a pew next to all of them and be part of it. Anyone and everyone has the permission to experience what it’s like to belong to a community, isn’t that great?

In an age where we’re addicted to refreshing our news feeds every 30 seconds and simultaneously craving the opportunity to switch off, having a place that doesn’t just recommend peace and quiet but demands it, is increasingly important. Quiet is cool and it’s needed now more than ever.

Sure, the digital distractions are still there; they’re not laptop / mobile-free zones after all but they still have a remarkable way of focusing our minds compared to a coffee shop, where most of us struggle to hear ourselves think.

Beyond the books, they have a unique capacity for bringing people together; they don’t ask for much but they lend a lot.

We’re sharing the library love by talking about our experiences, old and new. We hope it inspires you to visit and continue to use your local library!

Some days it smelt like Snakebite and sleepless nights. Other times, it smelt like home.Lareese

“I’ve always been a book worm. If I wasn’t buying Jacqueline Wilson books with my £5 pocket money when I was a kid, I was quite literally sniffing them out and borrowing them from our local library.

Then there was my primary school library – a place where we’d sit around tiny tables with tiny hands, reading Goodnight Mister Tom and David Almond’s Skellig. If I close my eyes, I can still smell it now – an earthy mix of coffee, Berol handwriting pens and the pages of Animal Ark. That’s a testament to the power of physical books and something that, despite its convenience, the eBook simply can’t match IMO.

Some days it smelt like Snakebite and sleepless nights. Other times, it smelt like home.Lareese

At 18, I’d sit in the local library revising for my A-levels. My nan’s old bungalow was next door, which made it a particularly fond place to hang out. I’d quite often day-dream out the window about summers spent in the garden making perfume from rose petals while working my way through the next deck of flashcards. I’d look up from fluorescent pink highlighted passages to see the same old white-haired man sharing my table, chat for a while and drive him home when his legs were giving him jip.

Then there was the library at uni; a microcosm of students trying to navigate their way through this new-found independence. Some days it smelt like Snakebite and sleepless nights. Other times, it smelt like home to me. I’d stay in there until 11pm – writing 2,000 word essays on Wide Sargasso Sea, Ulysses and Paradise Lost.” – Lareese

when I was younger, every so often my mum would let my sister and I rent a VHS – god that’s an old sentence.Danielle

One of my favourite mems from the library is from when I was younger, every so often my mum would let my sister and I rent a VHS – god that’s an old sentence – and we would ALWAYS pick clueless. What is it about kids being able to re-watch the same movies over and over again? TBF Clueless is iconic and I’m not mad at myself at all.

I also used to get these books about a girl called Tilly Beanie, she was a bit of a character and a bit weird and I was a bit weird. I think reading them made me “own my weirdness” and not care about what other people thought of me which is definitely something I’ve carried through life!” – Danielle

“The library always reminds me back to my days of being at university, although I was stressed most of the time and tackling deadlines, being in the library with friends was always fun. Doing our “late shifts” at the library, staying there all day until about 2-3am. We’d put YouTube videos or Netflix on in the background in private rooms which you could hire out (sometimes getting quite distracted) and just help each other through our work. I really used to enjoy these library sessions a lot and I miss them sometimes, less the work and more spending time with my uni friends. I think the library is seen as a place you can’t really socialise at, but actually it’s a great place to see your friends and get on with any practical stuff you are working on too.” – Darcey

My friends and I more or less became residents on the campus LibraryMaddie

“To tell you the truth it’s been years since I stepped foot in a library for the intentions they are useful for. The last time would most likely have been in my third year at university. My friends and I more or less became residents on the campus Library cramming hard for our final exams all the while drinking too much bad coffee and eating as much sugar we could afford to keep us going.

Nowadays I appreciate them much more when I’m visiting new cities, whether it’s the Trinity in Dublin (picture the beauty and the beast library) or the Bodleian in Oxford which always feels like the heart of the city whenever I visit.” – Maddie

“I recently re-joined the library because of the Book Club, and it’s been FANTASTIC! I’m not a massive reader so buying books to me didn’t feel sustainable, but with the library, I can borrow our latest reads (and only have to pay £1 if I need to reserve something already checked out) and explore so many other options too – over Christmas, I found some great vegan cookbooks which were so helpful with baking, and I’ve been able to discover new novels and explore old reads at the same time. Even if you’re a big book buyer, the fact you can take out FORTY books at one time is definitely a huge plus – go get yourself to the library now and find something new to read!” – Lauren

“My relationship with the library is a funny one! During university I was holed up in there for 9+ hours a day, hunched over a laptop and subtly trying to eat my vegan flapjack without being told off by the uni library police …

It gave me a sense of independence in having something that felt like mine.Charlotte

Having said that, the library isn’t somewhere I’ve always associated with work. As a child I was a self confessed book worm, working my way through the Jacqueline Wilson, Louise Rennison and Karen McCombie archives multiple times. The local library felt like safe space, filled with mothers and babies and the older generation meeting for book clubs and coffee mornings.

My mum would let me walk down on my own as it was only down the corner from our house, and it gave me a sense of independence in having something that felt like ‘mine’. Similarly to the smell and feeling you get when entering a book store, I still feel a sense of calm when in such a quiet and tranquil environment.” – Charlotte

Will you be joining your local library?

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Vanessa Krystle Buttino

When I was growing up in the ’80s, my Mom used to take me to the library once or twice a month. Now that I’m (a lot) older and living on my own, I go to the library at least once a week. I’ve always been a voracious reader and the library, for me, is a place where I can relax, unwind, and just bask in all the bookish goodness it offers me. I love libraries.


My mum used to do the same, I have not gone for a while but I definitely should go !


OMG I totally forgot about renting VHS’ from the library 😛
Brianna |


I still rent DVDs from my local library! Mine actually has a really good selection and I can always find something I want to watch.

Elre Clarence

My fondest memories are from our Public Library. I will never forget the day I realised that I could actually take books home with me and read them on my bed! The joy!

Get it while it's hot!

Sign up to receive our email, delivering the latest stories straight to your inbox.