Musing Monday: …nor a lender be

mondaymusing1Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about lending books…


A few weeks back we had a question about borrowing books, this week I was wondering what your policy was on lending books. Do you lend books to anyone? Just friends? Only big readers? How long are they allowed to have them?
As a librarian wanna-be, lending books is second nature to me. Even as a child, I loved trading books with friends, and went so far as to paste library pockets and cards inside the covers of my books, making my friends sign them out just as we did in our visits to the school library!   I get excited about reading, so I love to share that excitment with my friends who love to read, too. 
 I’ve had very few bad experiences lending books ~ the most notable being the  loss of a hardcover copy of The Namesake, which I lent to a co-worker who left the company without returning the book to me.  I still lament that one, for I’ve wanted to re-read it several times and simply couldn’t make myself buy it again.  (Yes, I have a BookMooch request pending, as do several dozen other readers, I’m afraid.)  But this experience has made me a bit more wary of lending my most treasured books to anyone but my closest, most trusted reader friends!
I currently regularly lend (and borrow!) books among at least three people.  It occasionally gets difficult to recall just who has which book – perhaps I should go back to pasting library cards inside!  
Sadly, I’ve recently lost one of my regular book trading buddies, who was actually my mother’s friend and neighbor, but shared similar reading tastes with me.  My mother acted as our go-between, and each month passed a canvas sack full of our latest reading from one to the other of us.  Last week, this lovely lady quite suddenly passed away, and now the canvas bag sits chock full of books in my basement, probably some of the last things she ever read. 
Now tell me, are you a borrower or lender, or both?  Have you ever borrowed a book and forgotten to return it?  I promise I won’t tell!
for more musings, go here
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15 thoughts on “Musing Monday: …nor a lender be

  1. There are only a few books I can’t do without. So mostly when I lend books it’s with the assumption that I’d like to get it back, but it’s okay if I don’t. This is partly because my house is small and there is limited book space.

  2. I have a book that I feel terribly guilty for having. I moved and have lost touch with whoever it was who loaned it to me. Plus, the puppy (oh 9 or 10 years ago!) chewed on it which is why I was shy about giving it back when I still lived in KC. Keeping it is some form of punishment actually… (it’s a craft book on how to bead church symbols! gulp)

  3. Oh, I’m terrible about this. I don’t lend, because I crave having my books near. But I buy and buy and buy books for others, usually books I already own. I figure I am helping the book industry that way, and also the authors.

    And I’m making sure my books are always where I need them.

  4. I am careful about lending books, but am actually an excellent borrower. I treat any borrowed books better than I treat my own, and that’s saying a lot because I treat my books very well.

    I had one bad experience, that of lending an audiobook that I cared very much about to a friend heading off on a cruise. I told her I planned to listen to it beginning about a week after she was returning so to please be sure to return it within two days. Not only did she NOT do that, she had the gall to send it back to herself (she flew into and out of London) via ship rather than using air as she did for all her items. The discs themselves were not damaged, but the lovely package was badly dinged and dented. I was furious, and because she ignored my personal request and did not offer even an apology I broke off our friendship. Other people may think that placing an object before a friend wrong–and in most circumstances I would agree–but I had laid out the return terms ahead of time. She did more than abuse the book; she abused my trust.

    It doesn’t stop me from lending books, but it has made me a great deal more cautious. I don’t lend hardcovers at all, nor any of my special art and fine art photography books. Well, except for one very recent experience. The police visited my home recently on a minor neighborhood matter. Bear in mind I do not own a television, stereo or related electronics, but I do own a LOT of books that fill every room of my small home. While they were interviewing me, I saw the older officer’s eyes scanning the floor-to-celing bookcase. Then they suddenly stopped and he said, in an amazed voice, “You have a book on Croatia?”

    It turned out he was originally from Croatia and had been brought over as a little boy. I took the book down, opened it, and encouraged him to browse it. Then I did something I have never done before. I offered to lend him the book. He came back the next day and got it. I got it back a couple of days ago in the same perfect condition in which I lent it.

    My faith is restored. But my books are staying home now.

  5. I will lend books but only to a select few people. Too many disappeared that way over the years, including some treasured ones. I also borrow and am very careful with other’s books. Also, to stop them from getting mixed in with our own books, there is a ‘borrowed books’ shelf.

  6. I’m with Musings from the Sofa – I lend to only a select few now, after I lent a whole collection of the ‘best fantasy books I had’ to a friend who wanted to get into it, and I got less than half back. The rest she accidentally put on her shelves, forgot about them, and then gave them away to someone who wanted to read them! And I specifically said I wanted these back. I’m still replacing those, too, myself. And yet, I love to give books to people, so I am always suggesting books to read, and to those I trust, I let them borrow almost anything.
    Lovely post, interesting thoughts! thanks 🙂

  7. I confess that once I’ve forgotten to return two library books before I went on vacation to Hong Kong. They were 43 days late when I found them sitting on my desk upon return, astonished! I ruefully took them back to the branch in order to clear my record. The librarian was *very* kind (she shouldn’t be, I know) that she knew something (well, my absent-mindedness) must have happened to me since I’ve had a good track record. She waivered my fee!

  8. I tend not to lend books as I fear for their safe return. But I will lend to family as they are more disciplined about passing books back and I do, in any case, know exactly where they are. I don’t think my own history of borrowing is blameless, so I don’t expect it from other people!

  9. I have to admit that I’m a little curmudgeonly about lending books. I’m still thinking about a few from two years back! My library misses them, but I’ve gotta force myself to let them go to the world of readers.

  10. I’m sorry to hear of the passing of your book-trading friend. I’m sure that you’ll think of her when you see mention of a particular book that you shared.

  11. I also love to share my excitement over books with others. However, once loaned out, I’m a nervous wreck until I get my book back. I usually write it down on a notepad so I can remember who has what. I’ve never lost a book.

  12. I have a very hard time lending out my books! I had a string of bad lending experiences in high school and never quite recovered. If I’m totally finished with a book and really don’t care if I never see it again — because I probably won’t — I might let a friend or coworker have it! And then I usually just let them know they can keep it. 🙂 It soothes some of my concerns!

    I’m very sorry to hear about your mother’s friend and book buddy — I’m sure she’s reading up a storm on the other side. And how great that you were able to share books and pass on the literary love together!

  13. I have books that are treasures that I would never loan out – Alice in Wonderland from my childhood, etc, but most books I loan and don’t expect back. I hope that the person will read and loan them to someone else. When I borrow books from someone, I inquire their return needs. I have a number of reading buddies who feel the same as I, so I pass the books on when I am done. The more the merrier!

  14. I’m kind of selfish about my books. I like to keep them in near perfect condition and I don’t think other people care for them as much as I do. Even if a close friend asked to borrow a book I’d have to think long about it before letting it go.

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