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The library

“The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.”
–Libba Bray

The library has always been known as the quiet place, the hub and mecca for book lovers and learners. But it’s changed over the years. Librarian’s no longer tell you to “ssh” so people can read quietly or maybe write that novel (assuming you found the energy to change out of your pyjamas and face the world of course) you will hear a background noise of singing when an activity like the ‘bumps and babies’ group are on.

“Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities.
–R. David Lankes”

But you can’t criticise, this is their way of making the library more of a community hub, some of them are actually in community centres and share the building. The library in the town I live close to- Bridgend in South Wales- was moved from a perfect location in the town centre to a community centre just outside and now when you’re sitting there trying to read or write in the quiet (or study, sorry students) you’ll hear the sounds of laughter from the swimming pool next door.

I still want the library to be a haven, a place of peace and quiet you can go to but honestly when was the last time I visited my library? When was the last time you visited yours?

When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.
–Rita Mae Brown

I used to visit the library every Saturday morning when I was a child and teen. I’d come home with an arm full of books, alway reading around five at once. I loved it. I have a lot to thank the library for I found a lot of favourite authors there. And I feel guilty that I don’t go there anymore.

When I started working my Saturdays were no longer free and I miss the routine. But it’s only the last few years I’ve stopped visiting the library. Completely stopped.

It’s probably a lot to do with not being patient, in this world of quick delivery and instant downloads. But when you have a day off you want a book to read that day, but when you can’t find anything in the library you have to wait for one to be ordered. I bought a Kindle for the instant book, a way to get free classics and save space.

But eventually I starting using the Kindle a bit less and decided that I preferred a book in my hand. My Kindle is great for ARCs and discounted ebooks and free classics. And fitting in my bag. But I still preferred buying actual physical books. But I have so many books that going to the library instead of reading the books I own seemed like a bad idea. It’s good if I want to read a book and don’t want to add another to the shelves but then I’ve gone to order one and it’s missing/lost. After this happens quite a few times I give up and end up buying the books instead.

I often think about going back, this is why I wrote this post but working more means reading less and it might take a while to finish a book, I could exceed the number of renewals and have to go to the library but then maybe won’t have time, possibly. Time to read and time to go to the library, that’s what it all comes down to in the end. Do I have time? I have a stack of books to read and reading library books will not reduce the stack.
The walk down is enough of an incentive, to get out of the house and get some fresh air. I will be moving soon but I’ll have the choice of a library almost on my doorstep or a longer walk (not too long) to the library I’ve gone to for years.

Writing this post I do miss my library and I wonder maybe I could make the effort. Order a book I keep meaning to read. After all if we don’t use them we could lose them. The library was so important to me as a child, I wonder how many children still use them today? Not just for the computers or the fun activities they host but to go home with an armful of books, an armful of different worlds and ideas.

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

[Letters of Note; Troy (MI, USA) Public Library, 1971]”
― E.B. White

If me going to the library keeps it open that’s good. But will one book make a difference? I need to get reading, reduce that to be read pile and visit my library again.
Do you visit your local library?

15 thoughts on “The library”

  1. Our library is just finishing up MAJOR renovations. We are new to this town, and I am on pins and needles waiting for it to open so that my family of 4 can all get library cards! I too used to go to the library every week with my mom. I’m hoping to keep that tradition alive and well once our library reopens.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I went all the time as a kid and then not as much when I was older, but then I worked at my public library (well, one of them – I’m lucky to have a few around me) for a few years and that was great. I definitely checked out more books then because I was there all the time. I don’t work there anymore, but I still like to go when I can. I’m in a book club through my library, so I check out at least one book a month for that. I try and go to the other programs they put on as well, because even if people don’t check out books, just using the library really does help it be seen as a necessity or wanted/needed by the community. I do have a lot of books I already own to read though, so that limits what I check out from the library for sure.

    -Lauren

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d love to work in the library but I haven’t had much luck applying I think they prefer people to have a car and drive. Annoying because I’d love it. I read books with people online as I couldn’t get time off to go to a writers’s group so didn’t bother trying with the book group. I think I’ll have to start going back to the library when I’ve moved. I’ll have more space for books then anyway.

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  3. I try not to borrow books from the library too often because I never remember to take them back and always end up with huge fines, which I try to justify to myself by saying I’m doing my part to keep the library financially solvent!

    On a more practical note, I’m mostly there because I’ve found that local libraries are great places for meeting spaces, whether meeting up with a classmate I’m tutoring or discussions with community groups and taskforces.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Your paragraph about how you used to go to the library every week on a Saturday and come home armed with books was so familiar to read: this was my childhood all over. I went to our local library every week from being tiny to a teen, then I volunteered there at their summer lcubs and storytimes before moving away. It’s sad that its’ now on the verge of closing: it’s only open part time and run by volunteers, which is better than nothing, but not how it should be.

    When I first moved here, I had a large library nearby, so I still used to visit fairly often. But since moving further from that one, we only have a very small one and I must admit with work etc. as well as you say, I haven’t got back into the habit. Working in a bookshop and getting so many books for free/discounted because of this doesn’t help (though I’m not complaining!) But our baby is due any day, so I’m determined to rekindle the library habit with him!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We’re very lucky to be sent copies of some books as they come out so we can review on the website and so we know what we’re talking about when customers ask about new books!

        Liked by 1 person

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