Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

I still get asked how much it costs to get a book from the library

“Free” by Foomandoonian

It’s true. Twice this year I have been asked this question. Just recently I was attending a wedding and a friend from college asked me, “I know this might be a dumb question but…how much does it cost to rent a book from the library?” It really took me by surprise.

Did I show it? No way!

I seized the opportunity to nicely and enthusiastically educate my friend, using the following points:

  • -“Library books are always FREE to checkout! Isn’t that amazing!? Going to library programs and events are always free too.”


  • -“The only time you might have to pay the library is if you turn a book back in late after it’s due.”


  • -“HOWEVER, with EBooks and audiobooks online you never have to worry about that, because they check back in automatically!”


It was great seeing things click and the lightbulb go off in my friend’s head. My friend was elated to know that spending money on audiobooks from the likes of Audible or iBooks weren’t the only options. I was able to pull up the local library’s website and get OverDrive setup on my friend’s smartphone. It was a great moment that made both of us happy, a win-win!

At the same wedding I was asked, “Aren’t libraries a dying breed?” Fun wedding crowd, huh?

You could guess that this made me a tad bit annoyed. Did I show it? Nope!

I jumped at the chance to say:


  • -“Actually it’s quite the opposite! Did you know there are more libraries in the United States than McDonalds Fast Food locations?”


  • -“We need libraries now more than ever, to help us navigate through the abundance of information out there, and find credible sources.”


  • -“Libraries are more than just books, they are hubs for their communities. The library is a safe and welcoming place where anyone can get free internet access, attend free programs, do research, and bring their kids to explore and play.”


The moral of my story is that you should be ready to advocate for libraries at any given moment. I live for these moments, and they can happen at any time. There are tons of people out there who still haven’t discovered the possibilities and awesomeness that libraries can bring to their lives! We need to keep spreading the love and the awareness.

Here are a few resources to help:



  • -Behold, a brand new QUOTABLE FACTS FROM ALA 2017 is out! It now says there are more public libraries than Starbucks. STARBUCKS! Go shock a friend and spread that awesome fact!



Karlyn Spevacek is Youth Services Librarian for the Timberland Regional Library in Washington State, and a member of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. She loves to read graphic novels, YA Romance, and listen to audiobooks in the car.


  1. Dianna Burt

    Wow! Thanks Karlyn! This post is quite encouraging!

  2. Leslie Guhl

    I find this is also a cultural phenomenon. People from other countries often expect to pay for library services. Always be ready to tell them your library card and the 25 books you can borrow for 2 weeks are FREE!

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