Riot Headline The Best Hardcover and Paperback Deals of the Amazon Book Sale (UPDATED May 20, 2024)

Keeping Your Personal Library Collection…at the Public Library

Aimee Miles

Staff Writer

Aimee Miles is a newly-minted librarian, mother to two small children, and former grand champion goat showman. She has collected two citizenships, three different driver’s licenses, and approximately 300 dearly loved books. Sadly, she currently has zero goats. You can see her quiet Twitter at Icanread4Miles and her blog on children's books at

If you’ve ever dreamed of having the Beast’s library (you know the one), well, have I got a revelation: you already DO! Your public library is an entire building of books which belong to the community, so you also own those library books. Every time you drive passed the building you can think, “There are my books.” The library’s goal is to serve the community members, which means this is for YOU!

via GIPHY (Me at the public library.)

They have people there to re-shelve your books so you can find them again for a reread, and others to select just the right books to fill your shelves.  Just like the library at Buckingham Palace, employing a personal librarian there to pick out new books you’d like and helping you find that confounded one you read several years ago.

You don’t have to store them in your own home. No stumbling through IKEA directions to build shelves. No hefting overloaded boxes of books to move. Simply pack up your library card, and make sure to get a new one in your new library system. You will have a whole building full of books that are yours.

Actual photo of me reading IKEA instructions

No book budget? No problem. The library will let you read all the books in the building for free, and probably bring some over from other libraries too*.  (*Some charges may apply for this service, depending on the library.) You don’t have to be beholden to the chains of capitalism with the library ready to serve your bookish needs.

Best of all, by allowing anyone in the community to read, your library offers you ways to make surprising new friends who have also read, loved, and own part of the same books you’ve read. Join a library book group, or just bond with a fellow reader in the Trotskyite section or the Native-authored board books.

So walk into your local library with swagger and confidence—you own the place!  This is all for you!