Do you use your local library?

I used to.  Growing up, I had a great library.  It had an awesome selection, and was part of a huge library system, so I could request books from any of probably fifty surrounding libraries and have them within a day or two.  (It was also great because wait times were a lot shorter for popular books, since there were so many copies in circulation.)  I read the entire young adult section when I was in high school.

In college, I really only used the library for research.  It seemed wrong to check books out for fun when I wasn’t even finishing my required reading on time.  And I guess I got out of the habit.

So when I finished school and moved to a new town, I had to check out the library.  It’s a big, modern building.  Lots of glass.  Cafe on the first floor.  Open floor plan.  Many levels.  I browsed around a bit, got a library card, went to check something out – and was charged $1.00?

WHAT?  I didn’t even have cash on me.  I had to scrounge through my pockets for change.  Super embarrassing.

I haven’t been back since, because I could not for the life of me figure out why the library was CHARGING ME. I mean, their website says sometimes they charge a $1.00 “new release fee,” but come on.  I’ve checked out plenty of new releases from other libraries, and the only time I’ve been charged is when I’m too lazy to take them back on time.

Also, their selection sucks.

But I’m thinking about going back and giving it another shot.  It’s been three years now, and maybe I’ll try to avoid the new releases.  Also, I’m trying not to buy as many new books, because a huge chunk of my paycheck was disappearing each month.  Might as well use a resource that’s right down the street, right?

What about you?  Do you use your library, or do you like to own the books you read?  How is the selection at your library?  Is it worth your time to go there?