I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?
I became a member of our regional library system just a few short weeks ago. (I'm still embarrassed to admit that I lived in Georgia for over 5 years before joining a library.) I've only been a couple of times, but given the size of my TBR/Wishlist, I know that it will be imminently more practical to check some of these books out from the library. I can't be going brooke here!
I definitely used the library a lot when I was growing up in VA. We had two county libraries where I lived, and when I went to school I joined the regional library there as well. For one summer in high school, I served as a library volunteer. I have to confess that I don't remember it being a spectacular job, but it gave me a lot of time to become acquainted with the library's book collection. I can remember when they built the second library in my county and how excited I was about their larger selection of books. The downside was that it was WAY across the county and not very practical to get to, while I probably lived less than half a mile from the existing library.
As for the look and feel of the library, I guess I'm not picky--I'm really more concerned with the book selection. I definitely prefer for there to be a lot of seating, in case I want to stick around and read for a bit. Our library in Canton is among the sleek and new, but I wish it had a bigger book selection. Happily, as it turns out there are 7 libraries in the region, so I can have any other branches' books delivered to mine. I haven't taken advantage of that yet, but imagine I will sometime down the road.
I don't see how coffee shops and bookstores could truly replace the library. They aren't really based on the same concept, and after joining my library I have to say I'm a lot more inclined to support it more than I have been. I think libraries are instrumental in making books accessible to everyone and I'd never want to see them disappear.