Travelling with Libraries

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Old book open with dog, birds, road and girl with red umbrella on pages.  Coffee cup, pen and balloon in the background
Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

When our local library was being rebuilt there was a suggestion that the new version need not contain actual books. This suggestion was howled down by those who prefer their books in a more substantial form than the electronic version and so it came to be that printed books were reinstated. While you’re travelling of course ebooks are the easiest to come by and weigh nothing. If you prefer the solid version however here’s where you can go to resupply.

De Facto Libraries

Usually found in the laundry, bbq or other communal area in caravan parks and other accommodation providers. A great place to unload the books you’ve read and pick up some new ones.

Street Libraries

While not yet on every street corner, Street Libraries are proliferating around Australia. Here’s one I found conveniently located at the bus stop in Tunbridge, Tasmania.

Street Library with books at the Bus Stop in Tunbridge, Tasmania
Finding a library wherever you roam

Anyone can start a street library and I think it’s a great idea.

Opportunity Shops

Ok so these are not an actual library but I tend to use them as one except of course you need to pay for the book originally. Then I give it back when I’m finished.

Library Membership

I have asked at many libraries along the way while travelling whether I can use my library card from my local library. While there are some libraries that are connected, sadly you cannot run around Australia and borrow and return wherever you like. Tasmania however has a wondrously friendly idea: visitors can apply for a three month membership. Hopefully the rest of Australia will realise just how many people there are working/living/travelling away from home who would love greater access to libraries wherever they may be staying.

National and State Libraries

It’s worth noting that you can join the National Library if you live in Australia and have an Australian residential address. This gives you access to a range of electronic resources in addition to the freely available ones. Similarly each State Library has a membership program which extends the usually available resources and services, see the State Library of Victoria for an example of the advantages of membership.

Finally, there are always ebooks (as long as you have internet access or have already downloaded them)

Smart phone with picture of library books held by a human hand with a hardcover book in the background
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For the frugal reader there are quite a few free sites for ebooks. Then of course there is Amazon, Google Play, Kobo ebooks, Barnes and Noble, and many more where you can purchase ebooks of all varieties.

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