The Libby App

I’ve become more inclined to read on my phone. It’s more convenient than stuffing a paperback into my purse and hoping that the cover or the pages don’t crease, and it’s far less bulky than sitting with a massive hardcover on my lap.

eBooks are plentiful on Amazon and Kindle, but the cost adds up quick. I shy away from ones priced above $2.99 but sticking mainly to the $1.99 books (aka on sale). I can usually justify such a price, but the budget has gotten rather tight recently.

Enter Libby: an app that allows the user to borrow eBooks from their local library.

Libby let me choose my library and browse its collection of eBooks and audiobooks even before I entered my library card number. Once I entered that bit of information, I could borrow and put holds on books. I’ve already buzzed through one book (Lock In by John Scalzi), have a second one downloaded, and have two holds that should be available in a couple weeks.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg library is substantial, but I hadn’t gotten a library card until finding Libby. It’s one thing to drive all the way to the library, spend forty-five minutes browsing the stacks, check-out with the librarian, and then drive home. It’s another thing entirely to browse through the Libby app and press a button to either borrow or put a hold on an eBook. Plus there’s the whole difference in returning said books. One involves driving back to the library. The other involves opening the app and pressing a button.

I’m not knocking physical libraries at all; there are few things better than meandering through shelves upon shelves of books. It’s just that I don’t have time in my schedule. So Libby lets me borrow library books without the logistics of going to the library.

Do you borrow books from the library? Do you prefer borrowing physical books or eBooks?

My first defaced library book

I found my first defaced library book the other day. Part of me is surprised that it took this long because I’ve been borrowing books from my local library since January. And I’ve certainly borrowed more than one controversial book in that time.

Here it is:

photo (6)That’s page 16 of The Princess Diaries. If you can’t see the word beneath the scribble of blue ink, the word is “sucks.” Someone decided that “stinks” would be a more appropriate word choice. They either didn’t finish the book or thought that the inclusion of “ass” later in the book was acceptable since that wasn’t replaced.

Seeing that blue ink on the page snapped me out of the story. I live in a middle-class suburb of Boston and never considered that I’d find a vandalized book at the library. Censorship happening here didn’t cross my mind. The people who burned the Harry Potter series and who try to ban the Captain Underpants series don’t live here. At least I never met anyone who protested when the library got a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. 

That being said, I don’t know whether a parent decided to make that little edit or it was an indignant teenage reader. It was probably someone who decided to read the book after The Princess Diaries movie came out in 2001. They liked the Disney movie and didn’t like how The Princess Diaries book had a swear word in it.

Readers have every right to avoid a book because they disagree with the subject matter, and parents can certainly stop their children from reading books that they don’t think are appropriate. That’s fine with me. I draw the line when people start to censor books, even if it’s simply blue pen in a public library book.

Humans are capable of decisions for themselves. They can decide whether they approve of a few swear words in a YA book or if they’d rather read that particular book. That’s as far as the discussion should go. I don’t need someone else butting into my bookshelves. People have different tastes, and that needs to be respected.

Have you found a public library book that’s been vandalized? Or have you seen book censorship in your community?