Why You Should Borrow Books

There are two basic ways to get books to read: buying and borrowing.  I am a staunch advocate of both, but since our own public library just re-opened after undergoing a year long reconstruction project, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of borrowing books.  Below is my list of reasons to borrow; check back next Wednesday for Sarah’s list of reasons why books are worth buying!

11 Good Reasons Why You Should Borrow Books:

  1. Routine library visits are a staple of a literary childhood.  I still remember the joy of walking into the children’s wing at the Topeka Public Library and wondering what treasures I’d find that day.
  2. Deadlines can be good for reading habits.  If you know you have to return a book by the due date, you may be more likely to actually read it instead of buying it and then letting it sit on a shelf for a year before picking it up.
  3. Libraries are wonderful places and it’s good to support their community-building work.
  4. Librarians are great resources when you need fresh book ideas!
  5. You can take more risks in reading because you don’t have to commit to buying everything you read.  When I buy a book I usually want to be fairly certain that I’m going to like the book, re-read it, or be able to use it as a long-term reference.  However, I think it’s important to also read books I’m uncertain about and I’m much more willing to do that with a library book.
  6. No buyer’s remorse.  If you don’t like a book, just take it back.
  7. Your reading habits need not be dictated by your budget.  There are very few people in the world who can afford to buy every single book they want to read.  For the rest of us, there are libraries.
  8. Libraries host great programs: storytimes, summer reading programs, book clubs, used book sales, etc.
  9. While you’re at the library you can also check out music and movies and thereby save money in your entertainment budget as well as your book budget.
  10. Checking out library books is a great way to test-run books that you’re considering buying for your kids.  If you borrow a certain book and they beg for a due date extension or repeatedly check it out, it’s probably a good candidate for buying.  If they never mention it again you can be glad you didn’t spend the money to buy it.
  11. Giving your child free reign in a library is a wonderful way to get to know them better.  Observe their book selections and you’ll gain invaluable insight into their personality and character, as well as ideas for how to connect with them and build your relationship.

To make it easier to find our recommended books at the library, Sarah had the brilliant idea of making a printable list of all of the titles we’ve reviewed.   Our Library List is accessible via a tab at the top of our site and we will do our best to keep it current as we post new reviews.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find all of the Aslan’s Library books at your public library, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find some of them.  If your church has a lending library you could take the list there, too (or give it to the church secretary as a wish list…).


10 thoughts on “Why You Should Borrow Books

  1. I keep thinking of new reasons that I should have included!

    Libraries provide great atmosphere for reading (and none of the distractions of home). Stay and read for a while after choosing your books!

    They’re also the perfect destination in any weather: they’re cool in the summer and are a great reason to get out of the house in the winter.

  2. Hi — So true. We actually live in Europe, not the US. In Luxembourg, so we do not have access to English books. They do carry a few English books in the city library, but they are nothing that keeps us going back. So I spend a greta deal of time trying to research children’s books on my own before putting in amazon uk or book depository.com orders. I’ve been dissapointed a lot, but am getting a little better at choosing books. That is why I am so excited about your site!!! Some other resources I have used to help choose books have been: ambleside.com, simply charlottle mason.com, and a waldorf parenting book: Heaven on Earth.

    Kind Regards, lg

    • Hi, Loree! To your list I’d add Honey for a Child’s Heart (which I posted about last week), Under the Chinaberry Tree, and A Child’s Delight. The various ALA and Horn Book awards are great reference lists, too, and the Guys Read website has some good ideas specifically for boys.

      I do love a good booklist!

      • One other booklist book that I love toting to the library: Books Children Love, by Elizabeth Laraway Wilson. It has an introduction by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, and Wilson is the mom of John Wilson, brilliant editor of Books & Culture magazine – who is potentially one of the most well-read human beings walking the earth. So I trust her guidance without reservation!

  3. yes! our library is a jewel.

    we love storytime and always new piles of picture books and especially librarians. what a wonderful thing to share with our children, that there are people in this world happy to help them find just what they are looking for!

    thanks too, to Loree, for the list of resources! i loved Heaven on Earth, but can’t remember any book lists. i’ll revisit it!

  4. Sarah, thanks for chiming it! I also have Books Children Love, but had no idea that the author is John Wilson’s mother! That makes me like it even more. 🙂

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