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October 13, 2009

Library Fines

The "worrying statistics" that books borrowed have fallen by 41% over the last ten years is not something that surprises me. I'm one of those people who has stopped going.

The Guardian further asks the question: "Yes, I am thinking about how LoveFilm or Amazon work. What is it about their way of doing things that generates such popularity, wide usage, such customer delight and satisfaction?"

It is obvious to me why - no fines.

I keep trying to use the library, but inevitably I am either away from home at the weekend, or for some other reason forget to renew my books. Then, when I do go back, I pay several pounds per book in fines. If you are also encouraging children, taking back a bag full of late books is a scary proposition. Best not bothering with the constant worry of "When are the books due back" and just get a few second hand ones from Oxfam. We have busy lives - libraries are hard to get to with their obscurely planned opening times (ours closes at 3pm on Saturdays - what is the point of that?). I really want to use the library, but it's a real effort to get there when it is open, and a missed visit means losing money, so why put myself through the pain?

What is wrong with the business model Lovefilm follow? They let me keep a film or two at home at all times, and only allow me to get a new one when I take the old one back? There are no fines, no worries, and I always have something I want at home.

Libraries need to be more friendly, more open. If I have to pay £3 to return a tatty paperback a few days late, I am not going to be predisposed to borrowing anything again.

Posted by se71 at October 13, 2009 09:02 AM


I used to use my local library. Well, not my local library, because that had approximately 30 rubbish books. I used to use the main library in Croydon. But I don't any more. Not because I have to *go there* instead of having stuff delivered to me. Not because of fines. Not because of their opening hours (although making them less stupid would have kept me as a customer for a bit longer). I don't use it because they have a really crappy selection of books. Amazon and Bookmooch have the stuff I want.

My local library has since closed, and good riddance to it.

Posted by: DrHyde [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 15, 2009 10:56 PM

I have a soft spot for libraries. When I was at school, I had no money to buy books, but really wanted to read, and so for many years I practically lived in the library. This is why they exist, and why I'm sad that they close. I see they provide internet terminals now for people with no broadband.

I agree that the book selection is very poor. Instead of expanding into DVD/game rentals, they really ought to concentrate on useful and popular books. And the SF section is usually appalling.

Posted by: se71 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 19, 2009 12:42 PM

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