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Reading this entry recently, I thought it might be worth a quick, totally unscientific poll on the matter. ^_^

Poll #1021026 De Rei Libris

Do you have a local library membership?

Yes
39(84.8%)
No
7(15.2%)

What library services do you tend to use?

Borrowing books
13(31.7%)
Reading periodicals
0(0.0%)
Computer use
1(2.4%)
Movie rental
0(0.0%)
Game rental
0(0.0%)
 
 
 
 
 
 
hey.. you forgot rent cds/music :3
Ack! I knew I'd miss out something screamingly obvious.. and of course, polls can't be altered. :-P I miss the library at the other place - quite a reasonably sized place, and a very good selection of movies to boot, including a decent little spread of world cinema, as well as the more expected blockbusters. The one near me now is a rather more modest affair, but they do a very good job with the small building at their disposal. (Even if I did once wind up forgetting to return a couple books for a few weeks, running up a nice fine in the process.. I can't seem to get into sync with their use of three week loans, rather than something more compatible with my modest bunny brain, like "one month")

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I seem to have a library membership but I never use it. I was only made aware of this fact when I visited the local while killing time in town. I won't be borrowing books there... my own collection makes theirs look like the few things tossed in a box you'd see at some hillbilly's garage sale.
I actually have a membership at two libraries, since the one in Lexington lets residents of certain surrounding counties have them, too. I don't go to either one of them as often as I should, though I do go and raid their stores of literary magazines from time to time. They won't let you check those out, but it's still handy since I get to see what kinds of stories each one takes, without shelling out a small fortune in subscriptions.

Technically, I suppose I have a memebership with Murray State's library, too, though I'm so rarely on campus that I mostly just use some of their on-line things. It's a pity, too, as they seem to have some good things tucked away down there.
You forgot "get a book off the shelf, find a chair, sit down reading for hours, dogear the page, put it back on the shelf, and come back tomorrow."

I often have so many classical CDs out at once that I max out my library's borrowing limit, so this is the handy loophole I use in desperate times. =:)
Also, I have discovered that you can do this with bookstores.
Even better when you're six, of course, and won't be disturbed. ^_^ I recall enjoying a few Asterix and Tintin like that, sat down in the bookstore, reading them through entirely. We bought them too, of course - it was more just an enjoyable way for me to pass the time while my mother went about her Saturday business. Although, I'll admit, I didn't know the actual translation of alea iacta est until many years later. (And indeed, either interpretation of "die" works remarkably well, even if only one is actually correct)

No question, Bell & Hockridge did a superb job on those translations. I should try finding out just how well, really, but much of my library was lost in the various moves, and the remnants are in storage. I don't think I picked up any French Asterix, but I do have a couple Tintin, as there were a couple titles that didn't seem to ever be coming to English, such as Tintin and the Blue Lotus - the level of writing's such that it wasn't difficult to keep up with the story, only pausing to look up the odd verb. (I was most disappointed to find they'd wiped "opium" for the wretchedly generic "drugs", though, rather isolating the story from its colonial Chinese setting)

I've done that with the last few Clancy novels. Guy turned into quite the hack.
Erm...

Do you have an 'other' category? For those of us who lean toward the music and audiobook sections, I mean.
I used to have one, but I don't right now. The university's library is better, anyway, I think. :)
I think I'm up to four or five "local" library memberships, as the meaning of "local" keeps changing for me. It comes in handy, when I'm on the road so much, to be able to pop in to almost any library and have full access for research.

My major uses: free wireless (nearly ubiquitous now, bless their bunions!); periodical database; and--at least in Washington--occasional shelter from the rain.

Libraries [and books] are so last-millennium. These days we have the Internet for our music/porn, and online subscriptions to Lexis/Nexis for the serious stuff....
My main use for the library system is as my primary office. Most of the San Francisco libraries have wifi... and I don't have to buy a cup of coffee or feel guilty about hanging out there all day!

Maybe there's a difference in the "barrier for entry". In the U.S. generally, you only need to show proof of residence, the form is short, you get your card right then and there, and it's all free (except for late charges). How about in the U.K.?
Oh, perfect! Sadly, the last few UK libraries I've frequented haven't had any WiFi at all (yay PSP plus WiFi Sniffer app! Much less conspicuous than a 17" laptop =:), which is quite sad, for just those reasons. Maybe I could enquire and find out if they'd be interested in offering open WiFi, if someone were able to donate an access point.

As you say, it'd be that much more relaxing, free of the minor pressure of feeling an obligation to buy Stuff™ in exchange for the space - only fair, certainly, but one doesn't want to create a shambling army of hazily caffeine-fuelled zombies, unless EA's paying.

AFAIK, it's much the same in the UK - I've just turned up with the simple application card in paw, and gained a card in exchange. Rather a pity their DVD selection isn't better, but as I said, it's a bit on the small side, but they do a very good job within that space available. No additional proof required, though ISTR they specified some bill as proof of address.