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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%)
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.