Do you like to visit the library?
When I was small, we had a mobile library that would make visits to our local shops. It was so exciting! My little legs would climb the BIG steps and I would be delivered into a space of booky love. Would I be able to find The Rabbits Wedding or Harry the Dirty Dog on the shelves? Such joy when I was able to leave with them slipped snugly inside my library bag. I remember there were curtains drawn across the windows of the book bus. I have no idea why. Maybe it was to keep us immersed in stories away from the distractions of the outside world.
Visits to the library were a fantastic way to occupy time when my boy and girl were little. We would come home with more books than we could possibly read, audio books we could listen too and videos (yep, we’re that old!) we could watch. There was story time we could go to if I was feeling constrained within my four walls.
When my man was between jobs, he would take himself off to our local library or the State Library to peruse local history and old newspapers.
And whilst I love the plethora of information and avenues of escape that libraries offer in the pages of their books and magazines, they offer something else which is equally as great. They provide us with a sense of community. Walking into my local library, I feel a sense that I am a part of something. I am picking up books that have been shared and read by others. They are not mine; they are ours. I see parents reading with their children on bean bags or comfy couches, friends studying together, people enjoying time alone pursuing their own interests. We are all coming together in this one space sharing a moment in our day.
Libraries support the learning and creativity of all those within their community. School children come together at homework clubs, authors visit to give talks, writing competitions are conducted. Our local library serves as a meeting point for a knitting group! Libraries promote programs within the area that broaden our minds and skills. Libraries offer opportunities regardless of means. I love that when the State Library of Victoria was built it was first known as the ‘People’s Library’ and that it was intended to act as a ‘university for the people’. Isn’t that a great egalitarian ideal?
What about you? Are you a library lover? Do you visit often or are your library days confined to your school days? If you’d like to read a more articulate expression of library love than mine, you may want to pop over to Brain Pickings to share in Ursula Le Guin’s thoughts on libraries.