I've been doing a lot of reading this year (I'm trying to read ALL the books). So far I've read twenty-one books in 2014, five of which were read in July alone (I'm almost done a sixth one, too). I'm able to read so much because of the amazing Public Library system. New books, old books, hidden gems, all are available for free. Libraries are the best!
One of my favourite features of our library system is the Interlibrary Loan. If my library doesn't have the book/dvd I'm looking for, they can request it from other libraries to try and get it for me. I was speaking to one of the librarians recently about how amazing the service is, and she let me know a little about how it works. A library puts out a request through the interlibrary loan system (which I believe is province wide) and other libraries can choose to fulfill the request if (a) they have the book and (b) there is low demand for the book with their patrons. Many different libraries see the request so chances are it will be fulfilled (I've used the service ten or more times and have always received the book). Books are then sent through an internal library courier that takes between 1-4 weeks for delivery.
It amazes me so much that (1) this is even possible and (2) it is a free service with my library card. It also gives me a feeling of great pride that everybody can have access to all the books, no matter how big or small their local library is. I absolutely love this service!
I also get a kick out of knowing where the books come from. My pick up location is in Elmvale, Ontario, and over the years I have received items from the following Ontario libraries: Niagara Falls, Keswick, Markham, Ajax, Orillia, and most recently Guelph. A number of those locations are two hours from my local library. How cool is that?