As a librarian, that is the million dollar question. I mean, obviously I do lend books… at work. However, when it comes to my private life, my position on the question is a little bit more ambivalent. Did you ever lend a book and never saw it again? Myabe it is just me, but I really feel like books just tend to disappear whenever I lend them. Nonetheless, I am not 100% sure it is a problem, and that is one of the topics I would like to discuss with you today.
The great sides of lending your books
Opening discussion with your friends and lengthening the reading experience
Whenever you lend a book to a friend, be ready to have a conversation about it. It is just as if you had created a tiny little book club (between your friend and you) as you have now read the same book. I always love having conversations with friends about the books I lent, some of them being spontaneous while others are planned. It is, moreover, a way to remember the book you have just read as talking about it works wonders. It is just like writing your own little summary of it.
Sharing a passion with a friend
Lending books is a way to share your passion for literature and your passion for a particular book or author with a friend of yours. Reading can be a lonely passion sometimes, thus I think we must make the most out of every occasion to make it more “social”.
Getting a book in exchange / doing swaps
When I refer to “lending books”, it is easy to think of a one-way venue. However, book swaps are a great way to lend a book and get one at the same time. It is also one of those funny ways to save money on books (we know how expensive these little things can get, right?).
Why thinking before lending?
Old and unique books might never be returned
Let’s face it: you do not lend pieces of art, so do not lend unique books. Of course you can, but I won’t advise you to. Sometimes, your friends take great care of your book but sometimes, they don’t. You can’t expect everyone to be as caring as you are when it comes to these objects (and thus I advise you to think twice before lending unique pieces to anyone). That applies to everything in life.
Your books might come back a bit damaged
This one goes hand in hand with the previous one: your book might not look exactly the same after a trip to your friend’s house. Thus, even lending “basic books” can can get tricky if you are a perfectionist or the type of person to “protect” your books.
Out of sight, out of mind?
Last but not least, you or your friends might forget about that particulalr book. You might remember it in a year or two and by that time, that person you lent the book to might not even be in your life anymore (or not in your town). Things change really fast and somtimes, people move quite far away overnight. Thus, be ready to part with your book for longer than expected as sometimes, life just “gets in the way”.
I am personally one to think that lending books is a great thing to do. I do think my job helps thinking that way as I am so used to lending books. Nonetheless, I love lending my own boks to give them a second life. However, I always have in mind that the book might never come back. In my opinion, you must be ready to part with a book forever before lending it. If you are not ready for it, you’d better keep the book on your bookshelf until it feels like “the good time”.