My Library Experience

Singapore library

I dropped by the library last weekend and then I found out that my membership has expired. I hadn’t even realized that a whole year has passed since I signed up for the Singapore Public Library. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’re aware that I was pretty excited to have access to a good public library because we don’t have that back home in the Philippines. In my excitement, I kept borrowing books that I didn’t have time to read – even with an extended due date. I kept doing it anyway because it felt therapeutic just to visit the library on a weekly basis, browse through the shelves and see which titles would stand out. I borrowed A LOT OF BOOKS but I kept track of the ones that I managed to read on my Goodreads shelves and here they are:

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
The Coming of the Dragon by Rebecca Barnhouse
Amplified by Tara Kelly
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Fury by Shirley Marr
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Wow, I’m a little surprised that I was able to read only eight books in the span of a year. Although maybe that shouldn’t be so surprising because I have my own collection as well, books that I’ve bought or received as gifts. Plus there are times when I would receive galleys too. I guess I’m used to having books as my personal property, meaning I could read them whenever I wanted, instead of being more aware of due dates so I never prioritized library books. That and I didn’t want to feel pressured to read anything that I wasn’t in the mood for.

Library November 18

I think it was a great experience that I signed up to become a member of the library, even though the membership fee wasn’t that cheap at SGD 50 for foreigners. I’m also delighted that I see so many Singaporeans making the most out of the libraries – I see a lot of people reading library books in the MRT and the library is always packed on weekends, with kids running around to grab books. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of the Singapore Public Library are both updated regularly and it was fun to interact with the people handling those social media sites. I just wish the library had ebook titles that I could borrow since it’s a lot easier for me to read on my Kindle while on the go. I feel like I would have been able to take advantage of my membership more if I could borrow ebooks. I wouldn’t mind signing up again but I’ll probably wait until there are specific titles that I want to borrow. In the meantime, I should concentrate on my TBR pile.

I know a lot of you have access to good public libraries (some of you are even librarians – lucky people), I would like to hear what your own library experiences are.

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8 thoughts on “My Library Experience

  1. I found it so interesting last year when you posted about signing up at your library. Though I suppose here we do have to prove residency, so it’s not that unusual–I just had to renew my library card myself! I think mine lasted 3-4 years though and was free with residency. I’ve been trying to back off checking out books from the library lately–largely because I also have so many books in my collection at home that need to be read. I DO have access to a lot of e-books, but I haven’t checked one out in ages. Mainly, I use the library these days for audiobooks, especially since lately I’m getting through a lot more audio books than physical ones. I could see your library card being worth it though if you need a couple of particular books. I know books are expensive there, so if it saved you from buying 3 or so it’d probably be paid for, right?

    • Hmm I feel like proof of residency is different because if that was the case, then I should have free membership because I’m based here. I have an address and I’m paying for a flat. The last few months before my library membership expired, I also stopped borrowing books because I wanted to prioritize on the ones in my personal collection. I wish I could read as fast as my TBR pile grows. I’ve never really tried audiobooks, I think I tried a couple of chapters once but then I realized that I’m not able to pay attention to the story if I’m just listening to while doing something else. But yes, ebooks would be really useful.

      Books are expensive here so if the library has saved me from buying 3 books then the membership has been paid for. So yes, there is that. But also I feel like I was more willing to try some books because they were available in the library, I’m not sure if I would have been willing to buy copies of them otherwise. Overall, I feel like the membership was worth it. I’m just not in any hurry to sign up because I don’t think I will be able to maximize the opportunity.

  2. Hi, Chachic! I recently went through a similar thought experiment, when I considered signing up for Amazon Prime (pay $79 a year and get to borrow books free on Kindle? Hmm) because I’ve been paying a lot for ebooks! And then I looked at the Prime catalogue of books and saw that I’ll probably have to pay for the titles I want over and above the Prime membership anyway, so decided not to do it yet.

    • Oh I didn’t know that you could borrow books on the Kindle with a Prime membership. I did the trial when I was in the States just so I could get free 2-day shipping. If the titles that you’re interested in aren’t available in Prime then maybe it’s not worth the membership fee? I need to remind myself to get more ebooks instead of physical copies since it’s more convenient for me and I don’t have a permanent base – half (or maybe even more) of my books are back home in Manila.

  3. It’s not unusual for non-residents to be charged here (because the library income is taxed based) but whether you’re from the US or not wouldn’t matter. You just have to show proof that you have a physical address in the city or county (depending on the local government’s structure). Very interesting! And yes, the due date pressure is a real thing. 🙂 My parents always made sure we had library cards growing up, and visiting the library was always a big excitement. So I really grew up with the assumption that I’d have a public library card. And now, of course, I work in two, so there is that!

    • Wish the policy was like that over here because I would have to pay taxes next year and I am a resident here while I’m working so it would have been great if I didn’t have to pay for the library membership. Over here, only citizens and permanent residents get free membership. I remember blogging about being pressured by library due dates, maybe I would have been able to manage that better if I was more used to the situation? Like if I grew up with access to a good public library. I hope you’re having fun working in libraries. 😀 I’m sure the habit of visiting the library while you were growing up influenced your decision to become a librarian.

  4. I live four doors down from my local library, and go there lots (mainly because I run the booksales). I check lots and lots of book out impulsivly, because it’s so easy to return them if I’m not interested, and because the more I check out, the higher the library’s circultion stats are….and also I place lots of soothing holds at work–all the fifty or so libraries in the state loan their books to each other. Which then come in all at once, and I drown in books…

    • Four doors down from the library? Bliss! The nearest library branch to our flat is 10-15 minutes away if I walk – it’s in the mall beside the MRT station. That’s kind of cool that you run the book sales. And it’s nice that you think of the library’s circulation, good to know that I was able to help with that because I kept borrowing books too. 😛 Drowning in books is a real problem but it’s a nice problem to have.

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