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Do You Borrow Too Many Library Books?

Borrowing Library Books

Borrowing Too Many Library Books

I think we can all understand the book buying addiction. We all want new books, even when we have way too many unread books on our shelves already. But how do you deal with this impulse? I’ve found that I love borrowing library books just as much as I love buying books. Apparently it satisfies the hoarding urge since my primal brain has figured out that I have to return them. I’m even completely happy to return them, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I just love the feeling of picking out as many books as I want and taking them home with me (they’re even free, amazing right???). But perhaps I’ve run into a new problem…

Borrowing Library Books
I checked out fourteen books the last time I went to the library…. Not counting the four mermaid books I had already grabbed for my mermaid summer reading challenge (you should totally join :D). I also got a Squishable Dragon who is just too cute and there for size comparison or something >.> (he’s just cute, that’s point enough!). The worst part is that I don’t think I’m actually going to have a chance to read half of them! Like I said, I’m actually quite okay returning library books, even when I have read them yet (I can always get them again later, which means checking them out again, woohoo!), but this seems a bit excessive. These are all books that I really want to try out, but don’t want to buy for one reason or another, so the library is perfect. And I basically went through the YA section and grabbed every book I wanted to read because I had had a bad day and reeeeeaaaally needed some book therapy. But then I signed up for the Clean Sweep ARC challenge, so now I can’t read any of them until May is over with (well, I could, but I’d feel guilty ;-) ).

As I’m thinking about it, I’m worried that I’m depriving others of the chance to read awesome books (don’t worry, there are still lots of awesome books in the YA section, I should know, I’ve read a lot of them >.>). Or maybe I’m just being weird again, it’s always possible. This is definitely the worst I’ve ever done in terms of checking out books I will never be able to read before they are due. I think my justification was that I wasn’t absolutely sure I’d like them all, so I wanted to have variety in case I started one, didn’t like it, or wanted to try another anyway. It’s like a buffet table :D.

Do you think this is excessive? Do you ever borrow more books from the library than you can read before they are due? Do you ever borrow books from the library to slack your new book addiction?

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -A


© 2013 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Elisabeth says:

    I work at a library, and I’m here to tell you DON’T WORRY ABOUT CHECKING OUT TOO MANY BOOKS! This only supports the library and getting more books of the kind you like. All the libraries I know determine their budget and which books to buy according to circulation–how many times a book is checked out. It doesn’t matter if you read it or not. And you’re most likely not taking books away from other readers. If the library sees that a book is popular they will buy more copies. Libraries also decide which books to weed (get rid of) based on circulation. So if you want a certain book or a certain kind of book to remain in the library–CHECK IT OUT!

    I have about 60 books checked out from our library at any time, but I do work there, and I’m checking out for me and my two kids. I never feel guilty. If you want to support your library, USE YOUR LIBRARY. This is one part of life where restraint is not necessary. Excess is encouraged!

    P.s. the 28 check outs for ebooks is not always true. Every publisher is different. But there is usually a limit. It’s a serious problem. But even with these, if you show there is a demand, you’ll get more ebooks.

    • Yey, encouraging my addiction!!!! Don’t tell my husband though ;-) And now I’m tempted to just randomly check out old favorites, is that weird? >.>

      Good to know about the ebooks! I hope to see that change some day, though I guess I understand the publishers’ side too. Though especially if there isn’t a current line, I suppose it’s not hurting anything ;-)

  2. I do the same thing. I can’t just leave a book sitting on the shelf that I want to read, even though I know I won’t have time to read all of them. It’s so incredibly satisfying to check out that many books. You NEED NEED NEED to read The Demon King or White Cat first. For reals.

  3. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads says:

    I used to go to the library every week when I was younger. I’d never take out less than 10 books. This stopped when I moved to far away to go and when I finally got to go back after 10 years, they still remembered me! :)

    I don’t go to the library so much anymore, I feel guilty borrowing books when I have such a giant pile at home to read. But when I go, I try to get 5 or less, and normally I end up renewing them online so I can finish

    • Haha, that is such an awesome story, I’m quite jealous that I wasn’t that kid! I also completely understand the guilt issues, I’m on the back swing of my library addiction apparently because I can’t take the guilt right now either D:

  4. I can’t seem to remember to return the books, so I dodge the library. But I know I buy way too many books.

    Sometimes, I wonder if it stems from that tiny little glorious feeling you get when you “catch” the book you have been looking for – we get to reconnect to out primal ways.

    • Haha, exactly! Though I think there is some hoarding in it for me too… my primal brain wants to have it all around me just in case ;-)

  5. The one thing I try to not borrow too many of if I don’t think I’ll have a chance to read it is ebooks from the library. Unlike a physical book that a library can loan out till it’s ruined, an ebook can only be loaned out I think 28 times!!! YES that’s right. The publishing industry has put a number of times a library can loan them out. They say that 28 is the number of times a library can check out a physical book till they have to order a new one. Though libraries have said they can loan out a book way more then 28 times. But the physical books I’ll just check out as many as I want!!

    • Wow, 28 times?? That’s horrible! Thanks for letting me know so that I only get ebooks that I really really want to read. I have enough eARCs to keep my Kindle filled anyway, so I can borrow the books I really want from the library in physical form.

  6. mightyknittingchick says:

    Hi Anya! I intended to post a similar entry on my blog last week and got busy, so I just got around to doing it today. I mentioned your post in mine. Check it out:

    I’m glad I’m not alone!

  7. I feel like I must be the only bookworm that doesn’t come home from the library with a ton of books in tow. Maybe I just don’t have as much time for reading? You know, I think that I must just treat my sister’s library as The Library because I always come back from her house with way too many books. That’s what it is, lol.

    • Haha, that just means that you have more restraint than most of us! And if you have another source of free books, then it’s completely understandable ;-)

  8. This post is my life in a nutshell. I currently have a total of 27 books out from the library and like you said-I’ll probably not get to them all, and I’m okay with that. My library allows six three week renewals as long as there are copies in stock, which I love. Although it only encourages me to keep putting off reading books and just getting more! Love the picture :) Random, but your library books look extremely clean!

    • Yes! Wow, that is a great renewal system, though I would probably abuse it and just keep my cycle of too many library books going, haha. Yes, these ones that I grabbed are quite clean now that you mention it. I think it’s because they are all newer and so haven’t gone through so many hands ;-)

  9. 1) The dragon is so cute! :) 2) I can totally relate about getting tons of books from the library! I normally “binge” when it comes to the library. My library doesn’t get many YA books in, so I’ll ignore the library for about 2 months, and then go back and request/check out tons of books at once! The librarians always laugh when I bring my own tote bag to carry all the books in. Sometimes I don’t always read all the books because I’ll just grab a new one if I see it, or a book I was on hold for from a month ago finally came in, and I’m not really in the mood to read that type of story by the time I get it. Great post! :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • Hehe, thanks! I love book binging at the library so much, and there are no health risks yey. Aw, that’s too bad about the YA book shortage. Have you asked the librarians about it? I feel like a lack of YA books is a problem for a library trying to attract teens…

  10. Suz Reads says:

    I’m glad to read that I am not the only one with book addictions! Even though I have tons of great TBR books sitting on my shelves, I can’t resist checking books out from the library too! Just when I thought I had it under control, I signed up for a Read-a-thon and checked out a ton of books to have choices in case some of them didn’t click with me. So now many of them will go back unread :( I still think it’s fun to have many options – libary books, ARCs, kindle books and TBR books. Yay for book therapy :)

    • Exactly! I got a lot of mermaid books for the mermaid reading challenge I’m doing this summer, and then there were others calling to me, I couldn’t resist D:

  11. Do you think this is excessive? Yes, but we bookworms have to have some outlets for our compulsions, at least it’s free. ;)

    Do you ever borrow more books from the library than you can read before they are due? No and never did.
    First: my library only allows two books to be borrowed at the same time and with a two months deadline, it’s always possible to read them.
    Second: Since I bought ereader I haven’t borrowed anything from library. They almost always don’t have what I want, so ebooks are always better option – they are available with one click.

    Do you ever borrow books from the library to slack your new book addiction? Nope. But I downloaded a ton of kindle freebies (and NetGalley review copies). My newest method to scratch that itch is making Kindle Freebies posts on fridays. I browse through a lot of books and although I don’t download most of them, I feel better. I guess staring at books helps too. :D

    • Haha, exactly! It’s this or a pile of bought books and $100 credit card charge D:

      Wow, it only allows 2 books?? I asked my librarian and apparently our limit is like 40 books, haha. We also have an inter-library loan system that is pretty good for getting any book through. I can also borrow ebooks from my library online, so that is pretty awesome, though I haven’t used it lately for some reason.

      I love the Kindle Freebie posts, also a great way to deal with new book addiction, haha

  12. I do this sometimes too. I pick up several audiobooks, some hardbacks, a few graphic novels. I put them all on the bed with me and nice cup of tea and then I visit a little with each one to see who will be staying for the week and who will only be staying the one night…..on the shelf.

    • Oo, that sounds like an excellent idea (tea included!), I think I’m going to have to do this before they are all due, haha

  13. Yup I do this too. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten 14, but I think this last time I came away with 7 (half of them mermaid reads). My major problem is that if I find stuff from my TBR list at the library, especially if it’s something I’ve requested, I feel the need to drop everything else and read it. Then the stuff already sitting on my shelf or my kindle doesn’t get read. So yeah, I feel your pain. :D

    • Yey mermaids! I have 4 mermaid library books, woot. If I find TBR reads at the library (which most of that pile is, sigh) then I absolutely have to get it!

  14. I used to win FirstReads at Goodreads but it has been AGES since I won despite of entering for many and posting reviews. Granted, the ones I enter have many entries relative to # of copies being given away. I have won several at LibraryThing and BookTrib and many from blog giveaways/hops.

    • I haven’t won any from goodreads in forever either. I won ONCE in 2007 when I first joined and nothing since despite entering all the time. :(

    • Yeah, I don’t know why Goodreads doesn’t like me, but I’ve never won a FirstReads giveaway from them :( I have won twice now from LT though, and I’m very excited for the book I’m currently waiting on :D (The Darkest Night!)

  15. I always get carried away at the library, even when I have piles at home from previous visits(not to mention tons of magazine subscriptions and hundreds of my own un-read books). There’s just something about new, shiny books and, yes, that they’re free.

    The “new” books shelf just lures me and I also check the shelving carts. When I get back, I sort all my books by first-in-first-out. I re-new to the limit, and the cycle begins again.

    As for book giveaways, I enter and win many. I’m also drawn to library sale and thrift store shelves.

    • Yes, new shiny books that are free! How are you supposed to resist that?? I also love the library’s sale section since they are so freaking cheap :D

  16. Robert S. says:

    I go crazy at the Library, We have no major book stores in my town, so I always barrow more books then I can read. Plus they have a large sections of free books and is updated daily. I’m Mr. Compulsive when it comes to books, always buying or seeing a new book I want. I’m always surrounded by books even at my age. :)

  17. Hannah @ Once Upon A Time says:

    I have 9 plus 2 more on reserve. I don’t have a problem, whatever do you mean?

    I often return books unread, and think, “Oh god I’m depriving other people of the joy of these books!” But then, they could reserve them and get them when they’re next due back, right?

    My problem is.. yes free bookish therapy, but also I fully intend to read them when I initially borrow them. Then my bookish moods switch and I just don’t want to so they go back.

    • Haha! I also make good use of the reservation system (how I got Shadow and Bone :D), so I guess I should stop worrying so much!

  18. I borrow too many ALL THE TIME! I always end up returning a bunch without reading them. I’m obsessed. Like I have to have them now and they’ll never be there for me when I actually want to read them. It’s a sickness, I think!

    • Hehe, I feel the same way. I worry that if I come back looking for it, the book I want will be checked out. I psych myself out and tell myself I’m so lucky to be here when it’s on the shelf so I have to get it NOW

  19. I have recently gone crazy over books. And I see the problem, I would feel a little guilty for taking good YA books when someone else could be wanting it, then in the end not end up reading it.
    How I solved this problem was by entering book giveaways, there are giveaways everyday on goodreads. And I’ve won about 20 books from them already. And if you don’t like the book then there’s the ARC clean sweep :)

    But I used to go to the library a whole lot too. I would have to restrain myself from getting too many books so that by the time I would have to return them, I would have read them all.

    • Hm, maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I can’t remember ever winning anything from the Goodreads giveaways and I entered a lot at times :( Do you try for books that say they have less entries?

      • Not at all. I try for the once that spark my interest (:
        But I browse in the “ending soon” section while most people would go to the popular ones.
        And I do have a weird taste in books so maybe that’s why I get a lot.

        • Oo, good idea with the ending soon option! I haven’t entered any in a while too, so perhaps I’ll get lucky if I try again, haha

  20. My librarian saw me a few days ago and I felt so guilty for not going there since last summer! E books r killing the library folks!
    I am a guilty of taking too many books out from waaay back. Magazines especially. Then I re rent them until they enough is enough.
    This post makes me want to visit my library again.

    • True, ebooks are exceedingly convenient. However my library has Overdrive so I can get lots of books free through the library through that too :D Yey, go to the library! Even if just to look around ;-)

  21. I used to go nuts at the library. I’d approach things with the mindset of, “I want to read this, and I can carry it home, so I should borrow it.” But that pretty much resulted in me only having the time to read about half of what I brought home, and often getting the books back was an inconvenience so I’d end up with late charges for books that I hadn’t even read yet.

    I haven’t visited the library in quite some time now. Not because their collection sucks (it’s actually gotten far better since I left high school, after the YA book explosion that happened post-Harry Potter), but because I get 90% of my reading material now as ARCs through publishers and authors, and I don’t need to go to the library in search of new things to read anymore because I always have something interesting on hand. I feel a bit bad about that, because I know that libraries rely on their patrons to keep afloat and by not visiting and borrowing books, I feel like I’m doing a disservice to an organization that I still love and admire.

    Maybe I should drop by at some point soon and check something out. Even if it’s not something I’ll get to right away, even if it’s not fiction (they have some excellent cookbooks), just something so that I can show that I still support them.

    • I’m lucky to have a pre-due notification email, so I’m going to start working on returning the books that I’m less interested in/read in time and then I can have plenty of time to renew and keep reading, haha. I also have plenty of ARCs to read thanks to NetGalley, but there are so many older books that I still want to read, hah. Oo, I didn’t know libraries have cookbooks, that is an excellent idea. I always get tired of food that I make too often, so being able to switch it up without buying a new book is an awesome idea!

      • I love browsing the nonfiction shelves at the library. So many fascinating things to learn! I usually check out the craft books section, too, because I’m a nerd when it comes to fibre arts and I love finding new knitting or embroidery books to try out. :3

  22. They’re library books, they’re meant to be borrowed, even if you don’t read them all (: Having so many to pick from is great, now you can just take a book you feel like reading at that moment, instead of being forced to read that one book you took out. Your library does have a wonderful selection by the way. I don’t borrow any library books since I don’t like to read the Dutch translations. I wish I could though :D

    • Whew! I am very lucky to have an entire YA section and they also organize it with a little section for new releases so I know exactly where to look first, haha.


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