15 June 2015

In praise of the public library

One of the joys of having finished my degree is that I can now read what I want when I want.
I read an awful lot in my degree, mostly academic stuff and whilst it was interesting, it wasn't exactly page turning!
Now i've finished I've amassed quite a collection of fiction books to get stuck into from the library.


Ever since I was little I have visited our local library. When we were small we were given a book limit by my mum with the rule that what you took out on your library card, you had to carry home. I've been taking books out of the library ever since, from story books, to non fiction ones to thrillers to romance.

When I first arrived in Durham I made sure I quickly signed up to the public library and still visit it about once a week.

It amazed me as a child and still amazes me now that there are hundreds of thousands of books to be read for free, all obtained just through having a library card. What a wonderful thing to have at our fingertips!


My other reason for loving the library is that it is totally guilt free. I decided a while back that I had no time to try and finish books that I wasn't enjoying. As such, they are just returned and I don't feel guilty about having wasted money buying them.

Library visiting is a habit I got into as a very young child and I hope it continues!

Some books I have been enjoying lately:
The language of Flowers: Beautifully written and such an interesting subject. I learnt so much about the victorian meanings of flowers.
Arthur and George: A fictional book about Arthur Conan Doyle and the real life cases he helped to solve. Again, very cleverly written.
Me before you: This was recommended by so many people and it didn't disappoint. Very easy reading and deeply moving.

So, do you visit the library? Have your read anything recently that you would recommend?

12 comments:

Lizzy Hill said...

I have to agree with you about libraries...they are marvellous institutions & we are very lucky to have them.... I use mine all the time....currently 'researching' our trip to the UK next year, tee hee!!

scrappyjacky said...

I love libraries....we also use them a lot for planning travel itineraries....why buy expensive guide books when you can borrow them free!!

Maggie said...

Libraries are brilliant. Our book club uses a library and with good warning they produce all the books we need. We were also lucky to have the mobile library stop right outside our house when the children were small. We all trotted out , the children, me, the cat and the dog. The beauty of the mobile was they didn't charge for overdue books!

Ruth said...

I have to confess that I haven't visited my local library for years, not since the unpleasantness at the monthly book club! I should make more of an effort and take The Boy Child with me. I spent loads of time in libraries when I was a kid, as my mum worked in one for over twenty years.

Barbara said...

I agree Abi, I have wonderful memories of going to the library with my mother and sister, and I have visited libraries ever since. I have repented read The Language of Flowers and Me Before You which I thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes a really good read.

iwillbloom said...

LOVE your post...Saturday afternoons were always 'library visiting time' for us, with my Dad. I still remember the excitement it caused: walking there, card in pocket, selecting the books, handing my card over, watching the librarian stamp the books.....am going to check out Arthur & George and The Language of Flowers (I also absolutely fell in love with 'Me Before You').....great post, loved it. Thank you. (Have you seen Julie's latest 'Portable Magic' post on her blog Notes on Paper? I think you'll enjoy it, especially the last few paragraphs...

Karen said...

Like you, I've been a regular at the public library all my life. Growing up my small town didn't have a library but during the summer the Book Mobile visited once a week. My parents were big readers, so they took us to the nearest city to the library regularly as well. I, too, enjoyed Me Before You. Have you read All the Light You Cannot See? I can recommend it highly.

Melissa Stebbins said...

We love our library too, especially being able to reserve books for pickup ... although I usually come home with a few extras that catch my eye.

alexa@clara.co.uk said...

I am a great library fan too, Abi - we are so lucky in the UK to have such free resources. Saturday morning was always 'change the library books' morning.

Missus Wookie said...

Yes, I love our libraries. Current library books include, "Chavs" and "Walking with the Light" neither are books I'd buy but I'm enjoying both for different reasons.

Susanne said...

Oh yes, I visit libraries often - even though I have enough books at home to last a good long time. And I am especially enjoying downloading audiobooks from the library - it has opened up a whole new world for me.

Lizzie said...

I spent hours at the local libraries as a child (when we first lived in Bedford, there were two libraries in the town... but they built a new one, then soon moved all the books there and used both the old libraries for something else). They used to have story times, which my little sisters enjoyed, with craft activities - which I loved! Then the new library had a craft club, which we went to about once a month - I still remember bringing home a "rocket" made from a swiss roll, covered in butter icing (that I learned to make myself), with a card-and-tinfoil cone for its top and card-and-tinfoil fins at the bottom. It was brilliant! (or I thought so... no idea what it looked like to the adults, but I was so proud of it). We also could go along one Saturday each month, to see a children's film - for free I think, or for a small fee anyway. I saw all kinds of lovely films there, which I'd have never had the chance to see otherwise (remember that we had only three tv channels, children's tv was limited to a couple of short sessions per day and family films were only shown occasionally... no "freeview", no subscription channels or film channels, not even VHS videos yet - so no video-hire shops either). The library was a wonderful, magical place to me, when I was a little girl and then it was so useful when I was older and needed to borrow books for school projects etc.
We also had a lovely library at school. Our school was in a beautiful old building, specially built in 1938; it had a library with long oak tables and matching tall chairs, a high ceiling and big, tall shelves, filled with books and more books. The librarian sat at a big desk near the double doors and "shushed" you if you made a noise. There were old-fashioned radiators, which were wonderful on cold days and big, tall windows - almost floor-to-ceiling (but not quite down to the floor). I loved being there and would try to spend time there whenever I could. We were so lucky to have such a lovely room!
And then, our village had a library of its own, when we moved there. It's still open and I used to take James there after school, until he moved up to Middle School. He's now a member of the town library and can even order books from them over the internet!

Great post, Abi -it made me think.. and reminisce...sigh...