Wichita Public Library, Kansas went viral this month after an avid reader posted a receipt from their recent visit to their local library on the discussion website, Reddit. The receipt which is issued when you check out books from the library shows how much you’ve saved by borrowing rather than buying books.
Reddit User penguinska9 wrote, “Just noticed that my library keeps track of how much you save by not buying books and borrowing instead” along with a picture of the receipt which shows the library goers savings on that particular day, this past year, and a grand total of savings since they began using the library.
In just one visit, the user has saved $164.80, this year they’d saved $1,384.23 and since first using the library, they’d saved an amazing total of $7,078.76, which as the user stated are “pretty significant numbers.” Penguinska9 also added, “There are six people in my family so a trip to the library every week really adds up.”
However, a debate soon began on Reddit and Twitter surrounding the receipt, with some users suggesting that by borrowing rather than buying books you aren’t supporting the authors of said books. Many soon fought back against this idea, reminding people of the importance of libraries in giving equal access to learning and knowledge. One user also noted than in the UK and Canada authors are paid royalties each time their book is borrowed from a library, although they also added that this may not be the case in America.
Despite the debate, it is clear that this amazing saving by just one family using a library service goes to show how much value libraries can have. In particular, libraries are a service that allow families on lower incomes with less deposable cash to borrow and read books regularly when they wouldn’t be able to buy new ones. As one Reddit user, skipsaur, explained: “with the amount of books I devoured as a kid, there was no way my parents could have afforded to buy me all of them. We simply did not have the discretionary income, but I’m thankful they took me to the library and let me haul a dozen or more books home every couple weeks.”
At For Reading Addicts we believe libraries are an amazing service that should be protected and supported so they in turn can help local people learn and thrive. Knowing that libraries are a valuable asset to a community it makes it even more amazing to see it broken down into hard numbers that highlight the savings made by users. How much do you think you save each year using your library?