Yesterday I dispatched a missive on this very blog about how I, if someone were to have accidentally left me in charge, would run Hampshire’s libraries to increase their usage – not manage their decline.

I did conclude, though, that it wasn’t all the council’s fault. Despite being a member for nine months, I’ve only actually borrowed one book – and I should be doing better.

But today, instead of the usual nagging feeling I have which urges me to pop back here and delete whatever it is I’ve written, I wondered just how fair I’d been to myself.

If I’d have abandoned Amazon over the last 12 months and used the library instead, could I have read the same selection?

I don’t for a second think that my reading habits are ‘normal’, but neither do I think they’re that out of the ordinary either. I’ve a penchant for ‘bullshit to make your life better’ books, I’ll give you that, but otherwise it’s pretty straight up stuff.

And I have to admit, I completely didn’t expect what I found.

It turns out that there’s a very comprehensive collection and plenty of copies of each book – and most are also available at my local library too. I’ve done a list below, if you’re interested.

So in short, I was right. We should use our libraries more. But I was also right that the people running libraries shouldn’t be overseeing their demise because people aren’t using them – they should be asking why people aren’t using them, and fixing that instead.

My suggestions might just help.


Could I have used the library instead?
Book Title and AuthorRead DateAvailable in Hampshire?Available in Alton?
How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do – Allcott, Graham18/02/16YesYes
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Ronson, Jon15/02/16YesNo(1)
Balancing Act – Trollope, Joanna11/02/2016YesYes
The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It – Jones, OwenAbandonedYesYes
The PR Masterclass: How to Develop a Public Relations Strategy That Works! – Singleton, Alex17/01/2016NoN/A
According to Yes – French, Dawn11/12/2015YesYes
A Prayer for Owen Meany – Irving, John29/10/2015YesNo(1)
Pay Me Forty Quid and I’ll Tell You – Culwick, Michael Ashcroft & Kev28/10/2015NoNo
The Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party – Gould, Philip [Borrowed from Hampshire Libraries]03/10/2015YesNo(1)
Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life – Mitchell, David03/10/2015*YesYes
The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership – Branson, Richard09/08/2016YesNo(1)

(1) Book wasn’t available in Alton but could be requested and collected a few days later.

Photo credit: carnagenyc via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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