learning to appreciate my local library (+ acquisition requests!)

I’ve had an off-again-on-again relationship with my local library for years now. I was a frequent visitor in high school, and could often be found browsing the shelves. In those days, I primarily read in Dutch, making my library an absolute treasure trove of books. As I got older, I started seeing the merit of reading books in their original language. After all, things do get lost in translation from time to time. I started picking up more books in English, and by the time I started university, it was the sole language I read in.

Unfortunately, that also meant that my library had lost a little bit of its magic for me. It didn’t have much of an English section, which is to be expected from a small(ish) town in Belgium. There wasn’t much that called my name anymore, and I stopped visiting for years. These past 2 years, I’ve started to build my relationship with the library back up again. While I’ve wanted to started reading in my own language again, I haven’t managed to pick up many Dutch books. However, my library has been expanding their English section. It’s still quite small, but has some unexpected gems in it.

I figured that if I never showed my appreciation, and never borrowed the type of books I wanted to read, they’d never know there was any interest in those stories. So I started borrowing more (English) books. From adult mysteries to YA contemporaries and science fiction, I tried it all. When new releases that were hyped up in the bookish community started appearing, I borrowed those too. If they knew there were people out there interested in these books, they might add more of them to the collection.

At the start of the year, I wanted to give the acquisition requests a try. For years, I had seen that button on the home page of the library network, but never given it much thought. Stuck in a rather negative mindset, I was convinced my requests would never get approved anyway. In January, I realized that it couldn’t hurt to try, and set off to requests some books I really wanted to read, but didn’t necessarily want to buy.

To my utter astonishment, most of my requests were approved within a week! A few weeks after I got the approval email, I could pick the books up in the library as they’d been set aside for me. I was ecstatic. In February, I requested another book – and got approved for that one too. In March, the same thing happened.

I’m going to continue to request certain purchases from my library for the rest of the year, and update you on how this went throughout the entirety of 2019. At the moment, I couldn’t be happier. I have some books I’ve wanted to read for ages, and I didn’t have to pay anything for them.

Are you curious to see which books I’ve requested and received? Let’s take a look at them together!

Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson
While I adore Brandon Sanderson’s writing, I didn’t want to buy a copy of Skyward yet. I’d heard some mixed reviews, even from his fans, which made my wary of spending so much money on it. My library doesn’t have many science fiction or fantasy books in English, so I figured this would be the perfect addition to the collection. I picked it up sometime in February or March, but still haven’t managed to read it.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor
When I first heard of this book, I thought I would end up buying it immediately. However, on its release date only the hardcover copy was available – which is annoying as it’s both more expensive and less handy to read than a paperback. I waited ages for the paperback release of the beautiful cover, but the urgent need was no longer there. For some reason, I’m terrified I won’t like this which is why I chose to put in an acquisition request. In case I don’t like it – at least I didn’t pay for it.

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1) by Cixin Liu
Another book that has been on my to-read list for absolute ages! I think the reason I haven’t bought it myself, is because I’m intimidated. I’m still slightly scared of not understanding science fiction novels, even though I’ve been reading more of them lately. Add that to the fact that it was translated from Chinese, and it makes for an intimidating read. I’m always scared of translations, guys, especially when I am unable to read the original for myself. I have high hopes for this though.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
After hearing quite a few people go on about The Silence of the Girls, I knew I wanted to read it pretty soon. However, I’ve been trying to buy less new books, and this adult fiction novel isn’t very cheap either. So how could I get my hands on this retelling of the Iliad without spending any money? You guessed it. I asked the library to spend money for me. I immediately read it after picking it up, and have since written a review.

P.S. I feel so accomplished with this acquisition request, because someone already reserved the copy 1 day after I had picked it up. I made a good decision!

The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black
Late last year I discovered my library had a copy of The Cruel Prince, which was so surprising. I borrowed it, read it, and thought it was okay. Definitely good enough to continue the series, but not captivating enough to want to buy. I figured that if they’d seen the merit in the first book, they might consider getting the sequel too. Like with The Silence of the Girls, I read it immediately after picking it up and have since written a review.

Fire & Blood (A Targaryen History #1) by George R.R. Martin
Listen, Martin’s books are extremely expensive. Adult fantasy novels are very expensive in general! I haven’t read anything by him since the last A Song of Ice and Fire book, which was 8 YEARS AGO. I’m kind of scared this will feel too much like a textbook history on the Targaryens, which is why I didn’t want to buy my own copy yet. It’s been in my possession for a while now, and I’ll probably have to return it soon, but I still haven’t read it. Sorry!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Another recent release I wanted to read so badly, but didn’t buy in order to lessen the amount of new books I get. To be honest, this was the most surprising approval of the bunch to me. I never thought they would approve my request and buy it immediately, since it’s a) a very new release, b) expensive, and c) fantasy, a genre my library doesn’t have that much of. I can’t wait to dive into this one soon, and then put it on the shelf for others to discover!


Do you have a local library? If so, what do you think of it? Have you gone through any similar experiences? Let me know if you’ve ever made a library request! Or if you have any recommendations for my next request.

15 thoughts on “learning to appreciate my local library (+ acquisition requests!)

  1. I adore my city’s library system. I mostly request ebooks for their collection and am awed at how wonderful, and friendly, the service is. I’ve only been turned down if the book isn’t available.

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  2. YES, local libraries are the best in that way. I recently discovered the “Request a Purchase” feature and have been approved 95% of the time–including an Indian cinematic adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that I never thought would have gotten approved. It blows my mind and I am so grateful. I’m glad you’ve been able to use your library more, too! ❤

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  3. I live in The Netherlands and love my local library! They have quite a large selection of English books, and I never really felt like the books I want to read are not available there. I already have a huge list of books I loved that I borrowed from the library (https://ayundabhuwana.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/5-library-books-i-loved-in-2018/), and books I’m super eager to read that are available (https://ayundabhuwana.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/8-library-books-by-women-that-im-excited-to-read-in-2019/). Glad to see more people are appreciating libraries ❤

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  4. I didn’t enjoy going to the library in my hometown because it was really small. But then I moved to a different state and my current library system is amazing! My local library is huge and I am way more excited to visit when I can. Happy reading!!

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  5. I love my library. I couldn’t afford to read as much as I do otherwise. As an added bonus, we have access to the entire state’s library system. They will ship books for free between them to be picked up at any location you choose, and you can drop them off at any library also. We’re a small state but our library system is very good.

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  6. I loved Skyward when I read it last year but as it was the first Sanderson book I’ve read I’ve got no idea how it stands in comparison to his other work (although, important to note I suppose that Skyward is YA whereas his others are adult). It definitely made me wanna read more of his work.

    Libraries are wonderful things, used to use mine shed loads as a kid and then stopped for years. I managed to get a job at my local library last year and like yourself it really portrayed a magic I’d forgotten about…

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    1. I always try not to have too many expectations when starting a book by an author I love, because all books are so different! I’m curious to see how he handles YA science fiction though. Oh, that’s amazing! My local library was not hiring while I was looking for work 😦

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