Library membership in France Do libraries exist anymore?

I can see the huge advantages of an iPad: no heavy books to carry around, no storage problems, paper usage is reduced and new ‘books’ can be immediately downloaded. But… reading a book on a screen just isn’t the same.

Confession. We have lived in France for almost nine years and I haven’t yet even been into a French library. Shocking.

Joining a French library

Today, we joined the mediatèque at Guer. A very hard brick and glass building, probably built in the 70s or maybe 80s. Lino floor and shelves of books with handwritten signs above each shelf indicated the subject matter of each section. Money isn’t wasted on ambience or comfy chairs!

There were a lot of books and they all looked in good condition, a small CD and DVD section, and at the back of the library, there is a small room with four quite old computers, which I assume are connected to the Internet.

Iona and Joe both chose 2 books and we went to the desk to ‘join up’. The woman explained that it is preferable that the whole family ‘joins’. I filled out a form for us all, we were given four tickets and then she asked for 27 euros! That’s the cost of a library membership in France for the family!

This always gets me! In France, you pay for EVERYTHING! Museums, some beaches… I have to consciously get my purse out in the doctor’s waiting room, as I’m sure I would leave without paying the doctor otherwise. We are so used to getting free medical care, free library membership, etc. it is hard to realize that this just isn’t the case in France!

I pay and am already looking forward to returning to this library, as I am sure over the next ten years it won’t be possible to go into a quiet building, which is full of books. Paper books.

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