bookcaketalk

bookcaketalk
Book, cake and me

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Why I Love Libraries

The library is an exhilarating place! 

Really it is.  The library is full of risk takers.  You take more risks in a library in your book choices because they are free to loan and you can pick up a few titles and not worry about the expense.  I wouldn’t take the same type of risk in a bookshop.  When I spend money on a book I agonise over my choice, whereas in a library I will read a new author more readily just because it looks intriguing. 
I discovered many great books in the library, and it is a pleasing thought that other people have picked up the book before and after me.  Children benefit from libraries enormously and my heart warms when I see they still shelve the Asterix books I loved as a child.   It took a long time to build up the Asterix collection I still proudly own; it required a lot of pocket money.  I am actually still missing ‘Asterix and the Great Divide’ and ‘Asterix and Son’, but at least I have read them both in the library.   Just look at how many children’s books are written as a series – Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Diary of a Wimpy Kid all very good but expensive when you add it up; in the library they are free.
There are so many other authors and topics I have taken the risk with in the library (ooh er);   Buddhism, new recipes, knitting patterns (fail – I lost count of my stitches)...  I love the library – it is a place of daring. 

The library is good for your health!

This is mainly because nothing bad can happen to you in a library.  I have thought of three possible scenarios where someone could get injured:

1.  A book is hurled by an angry, frustrated reader because the plot is so maddening.  The thrown book may well hit someone on the head causing, in the very least, distress. 

2.  In a rush to get home and read your borrowed books you crash into the barrier before the lock has been released and do some damage to yourself, especially men.

3.  You crick your back in reaching down to get a book on a lower or even higher shelf.

A library is also good for the health of the community. It is a safe haven for children who just want peace and quiet and do want to get on with some work.  If you live in a home that is madcap and noisy then a library is a great bolt hole for anyone.  Adults can also find sanctuary in a quiet library even just to read the newspaper.

It is egalitarian.  

You don’t need to go to Eton or Oxbridge to access learning in a library.  Anyone can use their local library.
I was always told by my mum that ‘if you can read you can teach yourself anything.’ That is something I now hold true.  Many times I have gone into a library just wanting to find out more about a subject for my own interest or research.  A library gives children independence and access to world beyond.  My father’s working class roots did not exclude books; they were always borrowed from the library and provided adventures that inspired a lad from Liverpool to end up in the same places his heroes had gone and learn the languages of the communities he found himself in.  The library was just the beginning of his travels.

Libraries love you!

You are not alone.  Libraries provide resources beyond the purely practical, it sends the message that the state cares about your mind and the quality of your life, your intellectual pursuits and your enjoyment in reading books.
I do believe that there are some things that we need to share and that just because something does not make money does not mean it is not valuable.  Libraries should be invested in and people should be encouraged to use them so we can share knowledge and stories and news.  We can and do all this virtually; this is a blog after all, but no one is editing me. Books that make it to print are edited and have to provide accurate, sourced information if they are non-fiction.  We still and will always need some things to be tangible and libraries and books are. 



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