Love your Library

Yesterday was National Libraries Day, I have to admit although I knew it was coming up, the day itself completely slipped my mind, as I was working overtime.  Luckily my sister reminded me, as she'd done the family proud by taking my nephew to their local library.  I didn't get a chance to go to my local library on the day, but I love libraries so much I'm sure the library gods will forgive me.

Anyone who knows me will know I'm a big advocate of libraries.  I visit my local library around once a week, and am a voracious reader - reading 2-3 books a week.  I even used to work in public libraries, though the lack of permanent contarcts sent me in a different career direction after a few years.

Libraries have been a big part of my life ever since I can remember, my Mum and Dad used to take me when I was learning to read, and everywhere I have lived I have been a member of my local library - and used the library service on offer.  All generations of my family have been big fans of libraries, I remember my Granny and Grandad using the library, and now my nephew is a big reader(one of the first baby signs he learnt was the symbol for 'book), often taking out 20 books at a time - my poor sister has to carry them home!

There are always people who, when I say that I'm off to the library that evening, or that weekend, look bemused and ask me why I don't have a Kindle.  I'll tell you why - I love the cover of a book, the feel and smell of a book(only book lovers will get that one!)  I'm sure Kindles are good to save on space, people often tell me how there are loads of free books on there, and their friends have illegal disks with copies of books on.  I don't think those people stop to think about the people who have written those books, their need to make a living and be recognised for their writing, and the fact that a paper book will never freeze on you or lose your place - unless you drop your boookmark!

Of course libraries are about a lot more than just books.  Many libraries have events,and also loan out CDs, DVDs and more.  This year I would like to learn Spanish, and am hoping to get some sort of language CDs from my library to help.  Libraries have changed over the years, and are no longer places where you have to walk around in silence, with dusty old books.  Although I think it's important libraries still have an area for contemplation and quiet study - libraries are a melting pot of something for everyone, all cultures and interests catered for.

Libraries are a safe space for so many social groups - from parents who want somewhere to take their young children and entertain them at singing and story groups, retired people whose monthly reading group enrich their days, to the homeless person who in their library finds a warm dry place to sit in peace for a few hours.

The only thing that makes me sad is how my local library has gone from a library counter with friendly staff, to 100% self issue, I for one miss the banter I used to enjoy when taking out books. Now it seems as though the staff don't even notice if you are there or not, and just chat to each other.  This is particularly poignant if, for example, an elderly person for whom their library visit is their only human interaction.  Hopefully this will get better.

From help with job seeking, to school class visits, to housebound services for the elderly and infirm, libraries really do have something to offer everybody, at all stages of their lives.

It saddens me also how many libraries are at risk of closing in the UK.  The only solution for this seems a simple one - don't just love your library; use it.


Popular Posts