From my early teenage years, having a library card was a priority. Either it was about the local school library, sometimes very poor and with very worned out books, or about public libraries, I always tried to save money to get the card and keep a clear schedule of the deadlines avoiding to pay extra fees for the delays.
At the time when I was entering the university, I used to have more than five cards, among others: to the public library close to my house, the French Institute, the British Coucil, the Goethe Institute and the American Center. There were many others but these were the most resourceful, with permanent bookish attractions.
Every two weeks, with a big bagpack on my shoulders, I was making the tour of those libraries, for the exchange. Although it was not easy for my fragile constitution to carry the heavy books, I got enriched with a lot of new languages and new authors and, at the end of the day, with new worlds.
These books helped me to be alive in the darkest moments of my life. After all, I did not have too much time to be depressed. I had books waiting for me to be returned and new ones to be read.
One of the first things I did when moving to Germany, was, of course, to explore the offer in terms of books. First, I was in need of quality German learning resources, but till my German would improve, of English or French books to read. What I discovered overcome my expectations: every borrough in Germany has its own library, which has an impressive collection of recent books in German or English, with many language resources and movies and recent publications. The prices are around 10 Euro, with half price for children. There are very interesting sections for children literature, in English and German.
Besides the rich offer of books, the libraries in Berlin also host special events, such as lectures with authors for both adults and children.This is how I had the opportunity to listen to Jonathan Coe talking about his books a couple of years back. Last but not least, libraries offer the opportunities of networking to book lovers, particularly through participation to book clubs, a very common phenomenon in Berlin.
If you want to hear the tip number one for a successful relocation, this is my two cent: check how are the local public libraries. From this point of view, Berlin is by far the best of many possible worlds.
Photos were done at my local public library.