10 for 10 for 10

Last week, as a thank you, I sent a friend two books. The total? $60. For two. As someone who almost never buys books, I thought, “How do people do this all the time?” Hopefully this friend of mine isn’t reading this thinking, “Wow, thanks for complaining about the gift you sent.” He’s worth the 60 bucks! Honestly, maybe even 65. But we all know a person who says, “I buy all my books online.” I’ve had folks say that to me when I’ve been out talking up library services. More than once. “Can I show you how to add Libby to your phone?” “Nah, I buy all my books online.” 

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“Sarah! Can you write something about donating money but make it funny and light?,” my colleague recently asked. We’re doing a fundraiser called 10 for 10 for 10. $10 a month in celebration of our 10 year anniversary in this building to hopefully add up to 10k. (She, along with quite a few other employees, donate regularly to the library.) “No, I’m terrible at asking people for money. I get so awkward!,” I replied. (My husband almost died 8 years ago and when the GoFundMe was started I was like, “Oh no, I hope people don’t think we actually need money. I’m sure we can patch up his spine on our own.”) But, then something hit me—I remembered watching Moonlight for the first time on Kanopy and feeling slightly bewildered that this absolutely incredible film was on a free library service. I thought about how, during the pandemic, when we were closed for weeks, and I’d read every print book at my disposal, I started using Libby. (I’m not going to lie: I am a print book reader. But, Libby saved my sanity.)

How much do you think you spend on the typical television and audiobook streaming services per month? Oh, you don’t care because you’re using your ex’s password? Well, I’m not judging, but imagine if you could untether yourself from that person. You’re free! And so are Kanopy and Libby! You’ll get E-audio books! E-books! Movies! TV shows! All for the low, low price of zero dollars. All you need is a library card. Of course, these services do not come free to the library. 

Here’s something I hope to never say again: Let’s do some math. I’m not the fastest reader in the world, but last year I read 36 books. Let’s use a conservative estimate and say each of those books cost $20. That’s $720 I did not spend. That’s a flight to Europe. In fact, I should be in Paris right now instead of writing this! I guess that’s a different math problem for a different day. 

So, here we go. The awkward part. We could all see this coming. With all the money I’ve helped you save in the above paragraphs, could you use some of that to “subscribe” to library services? Maybe just $10 a month? Don’t forget I’ve already figured out how you can afford a European vacation. If your answer is yes, you can do that right here. This enables others to use these services for free and helps us bulk up our collection so you never get bored. 

If you’re thinking to yourself, “I really can’t afford it and now I feel guilty.” I say PSHAW! Just keep using our services. We get it. We truly get it. And for what it’s worth, you can pry Peacock from my cold, dead hands because weekends were made for watching Dateline. But if you are able to donate $10 a month… Would you? Could you? Please? Sorry, I know, I’ve made it awkward again.

-Sarah Mathews is the Outreach Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library.