I am a librarian. It is literally my job to lend books to people. However, as part of the library, I can also reasonably expect those books to also be returned. It is a happy give and take relationship, and it works well. Generally, everyone is happy with the exchange and it is repeated over and over again. This sharing of resources is one of the fundamental reasons libraries are so wonderful.
But I must confess, I am not nearly so giving in my personal life where it comes to my personal library of books. I used to be able to lend books to friends and I would (quietly) regard it as an honor. As in, “look friend, I value our friendship so much that I will lend you one of my favorite books”. The thing is, my friend does not feel the same way about my books as I do. Really, why would they? Eventually I realized that I was lending out many of my favorite books and only getting a fraction returned to me. So now, I have changed my ways. Friends, if I am “lending” you a book from my personal collection, it is because I may or may not have enjoyed it but I think you might like it. I also do not expect to ever see that book again. I am not attached to any of the books I lend to my friends. If there is a book I loved and own, and I really want you to read it too – I might just buy you a copy.
But I will not let you borrow it.
Do you let people borrow your books? Are they ever returned or is this not a problem for you?