From a young age I’ve always loved libraries. As a child it was for its wide range of books and never ending series of Babysitter Club books; Brynmor Jones Library at uni for every science periodical under the sun and for its views across the countryside perfect for procrastinating and now my local library that may be small, but seems to be run by a bunch of foodie librarians and has a cookbook section to rival Waterstones.
While I’m fortunate to get cookbooks sent to me from publishers there are many I want to read that I don’t get. I’ve found borrowing from a library a great way to road test cookbooks. Too many times have I bought a cookbook to find it’s rubbish. By borrowing from libraries I often find that if I like the cookbook I’ll end up buying my own copy. All of the books in the photo above I have taken out from a library then subsequently bought. If the library doesn’t have the book in stock they can order it in for the tiny amount of £0.80. I’ve got hold of both Short & Sweet by Dan Lepard and the fabulous Heston Blumenthal at home this way. In the UK authors get paid every time their books are taken out from a public library through public lending right. Once books have passed their life on the shelves they are sold on. Recently my local library had loads of cookbooks for sale, some no more that 2 years old for £1.50 and under.
Unfortunately in some parts of the country libraries are under threat. I think they are such an important resource for everyone not only for the books, but internet (something many of us take for granted), and access to community information.
Do you use your local library? What is the best book you’ve managed to find there?