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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Eugene Library

Since the first week we arrived in Eugene we've been visiting the library. Beth is a voracious reader, and can complete a book in less than a day if undisturbed. I'm a slower reader, but enjoy DVDs and CD audio books.

In Ealing there was a small charge for reserving a book if it wasn't on the shelves, about 75p and there was a charge for borrowing tapes, CDs and DVDs, usually 1.50 GBP.

In Eugene, no charge.

Of course the library is funded via city taxes, so we are paying for it really and it's sensible to use that resource, but with no incremental charges we're been borrowing like crazy. There are three library branches round the city, the Downtown Library being the biggest but with limited parking, so we use the Bethel Library, nearer to us and with ample free parking, as our home branch.

Our usual method is to reserve items online, then we receive an email confirming when they are available for pick up at our chosen branch, and we pop along and pick them off the holding shelves. No shelf-searching necessary, though that is fun too,

The Library's online system has a calculator to estimate how much we have saved by borrowing rather than buying. With a standard paperback novel costing at least $8-12, DVDs anything from $3 to $10 for an older title, and CD audio books around $30, we estimate we've saved maybe $1,500 in seven weeks. With limited space, and a desire to keep our apartment and eventually our home more clutter-free, we'll only be buying books we intend to read or refer to multiple times from now on.

There's also the beneft of trying something we might like without the financial outlay, so I'm borrowing CDs sets on various US Presidents to learn some US history, and I've been reading up on the history of Eugene itself in the Downtown reference section.

The staff are courteous and helpful (tip to Ealing Library staff, try this sometime), the checking out systems actually work, and from the busyness everytime we go, the Library services are widely used. It makes a very pleasant change.

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