Thanks to having children, I have rediscovered a fondness for my local library. Another big contributor is moving to within a 5 minute walk of the local library.
I remember going to the library as a child and looking for my section which currently would be “796 Athletic & Outdoor Sports & Games.” I would peruse what books were available and rarely did a hold as I did not even know what to look for. I did not read much fiction as I was already getting that from school.
Now, I keep a short reading list based on references I see in blog posts and magazine articles. My first look is always the library catalogue. If it is unavailable, I add the book in question to my Amazon wish list for further consideration. If it is available, I will request it and wait for my pick up date. At this point it is a question of whether or not my patience will survive my time in the queue.
I do come across some gems which I will later purchase. Often, I will just enjoy a good read and pick up a few pearls of knowledge. This has saved me some money and as importantly book space as I have been taking active steps to pare back the ~110 titles I have on bookshelves or in storage. I am becoming more and more convinced that aside from memorabilia and keepsakes, I should not have items in storage (i.e. basement, garage, or off-site storage location). Instead, I would like to live within in my space and treasure the possessions I choose to hang on to and part with those I choose to let go of.
At any rate, I still add about 4-5 titles to my shelf per year. This is pretty reasonable and I would not feel bad if I had a 200 book collection in another 20 years. Granted these would take up a full width bookshelf to the ceiling, but there will be fewer children’s toys in the house.