Library VS Bookstore SOL#19

Library vs Bookstore

Why is it such a different feeling for me to go to the library rather than the bookstore? There is a sense of peace that floods over me at a bookstore. Used bookstores especially evoke this feeling. A couple years ago I was having a rough time in my life and I took myself on a field trip to a used bookstore downtown Chicago – Myopic. I went upstairs and squeezed through several bookcases and came into an open area where there was a long table and chairs. There were no other people around and I suddenly took a large inhale and exhaled and felt like new life had been restored to me. My body was relaxed and my mind stopped racing. The trip also included a trip to Intelligentsia coffee which was heaven in a cup accompanied with a croissant.

The bookstore I associate with leisure,  but the library I associate with research, books to pick up,  and “things I must do”.  There are deadlines that come with the library and responsibility. The book isn’t mine which is a completely different feeling. There is pressure to get the book done before it is due. Usually not a problem unless all the holds come in at the same time! There is a feeling of business rather than pleasure in the library. I feel rushed there. This feeling seems to be new to me however. I remember the library at my middle school as being a place of comfort for me. I used to go in at lunch everyday and find a corner and read. The librarian would have to remind me to go to class because I would get lost in the book and not hear the bells.

When I move to a new town one of the first items on the to do list to get my library card. It is the most important thing after the address change. Some libraries are more lax than others. One town refused to give me the card until my drivers license changed to the new address.

The librarians know who I am in the branch I visit the most often. I come in at least once a week for holds due to the new Google library extension making it so easy to request. I even asked for a book to be ordered for the first time ever. I was so excited to get the email that they have indeed ordered it. I used the library to tutor for years as well. My good friend is even working there now as the children’s librarian.

At the bookstore the books are mine. I have them forever. I am comforted by the stacks and volumes around me. I carry my own books around with me. I write in my books. I have discovered that I need copies of my own of non-fiction so I can annotate my own books.

I love both places but with books at the center I am conflicted with the mixed feelings about the places.


11 thoughts on “Library VS Bookstore SOL#19

  1. I had not thought of the distinction between the library and bookstore, but you’re right. I mostly use the library for research, especially since I live in a small town and must drive a distance to visit both. I love my collection of books. If I check out one from the library, often I end up buying it for later review.


  2. One of our local libraries was just totally remodeled. Your post made me think of the layout and color choices the library picked. Some of the old book stores and that feeling once you walk in, the feeling that you are where you are supposed to be.

    The new library does not have that same warm feeling.

    That got me thinking about some of the classrooms I visit, some are very warm while others feel less so. I wonder how we can transform these classrooms to get that warm feeling?


  3. Interesting! I’ve never thought about the difference before. Thanks for pointing it out and making me consider another point of view. ~JudyK


  4. interesting slice. I’m a school librarian, so am biased toward libraries but I love bookstores, as well. My public library is fabulous, too. I guess for me it is more like different flavors of ice cream—but they’re all fantastic!


  5. Thanks for making me think about this! I love books but never compared these two. I would probably pick bookstore tho because I love to write in my books!


  6. Bookstores for sure win in my book! But I’m not a fan of used bookstores…they tend to be too musty and dusty for me. I like clean, fresh, new books…and lots of them!


  7. Books, books, and more books! 🙂 A bookstore is a bad place for me because I can always find something to purchase regardless of the price. There’s always a bargain bin/discount table/buyonegetonefree of some sort that I can get my hands on! 🙂 A library, a great place to find a chair, find a local paper or magazine I don’t have a subscription to, and do some reading. I love looking at the new books, find a fiction by a favorite author or a non-fiction on a topic of interest.

    But to pick a favorite, yikes, I’m not sure I could! 🙂

    Thank you for the awesome slice today!


  8. I love both, but spend more time at the library. One of my favorite traditions when I was teaching included stopping by the library on Friday afternoons. I would collect magazines that I wanted to read and settle in for a delicious, relaxing time reading. It was the perfect way to unwind after a busy week. When I buy or subscribe to a magazine, I feel compelled to read all of it. But at the library, I skip around and sample whatever catches my eye with no guilt to read it all. I guess I’d have to vote for the library since I love that libraries are available to all and no money is needed to dive in and partake of the treasures.


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