OK that might be a little extreme, but hear me out. My friend Megan is a librarian at a major metropolitan library. She recently asked me “why don’t sci-fi and fantasy readers use libraries?” I was taken aback – I figured that genre fans everywhere used libraries and that would include readers of science fiction. But no, apparently they don’t.
Her library’s reports regularly show that sci-fi/fantasy is the least circulated genre in the library’s collection. Non-fiction books are even circulated more than sci-fi. Yikes. I wondered if many readers were also collectors; they want to own these books and thus the library holds little appeal. Or maybe the disappointment at not finding a book you wanted turned you off to libraries?
The library has a limited budget to spend and realistically they need to spend that on the books that will be used the most. Sure, the library should be well-rounded, but why invest in a book like (the excellent) Fitzpatrick’s War that 2 people will ever check out when she could buy another copy of the latest James Patterson novel that will spend the better part of a year outside the library in the homes of happy readers.
So I thought it would be good to ask you, the readers here, what can she do? What would coax those of you who haven’t stepped foot in your local library in the last year to take another look and actually utilize its services? Let us know in the comments, and thanks!