As a boy I used to love going to the library. For many years I had no reason to visit one but I’ve re-discovered a love of these places thanks to my children.
I can vividly recall the local library I visited as a boy. It served a rural population so was tiny and I seem to remember it was only open part time. I can still see the two librarians that worked there and the stacks of cards lined up on a huge wooden desk in front of them, one for every book on the shelves.
When I was about 10 an American boy started coming to my school for some reason. I think he was possibly from Washington DC and he found the local library a little backward. He had me mesmerised on one occasion telling me about the amazing computerised library he visited back home in the USA. It all sounded very impressive.
To encourage my eldest daughter to read we signed her up at the library several months ago. She absolutely loves the place and I’m delighted to see that libraries have moved with the times and become considerably more child and family friendly. Children don’t seem to get hushed up when they make noise and they get comfy seats and books serving every age range, from birth to teenagers.
The great thing is watching Helen going through all the books as she chooses one she wants. Once she has done that, she naturally has to chose a DVD that she wants to take home. On the condition homework is completed, I usually relent.
I took Helen to the library yesterday after school with Elizabeth, her toddler sister. If I’m truthful, it all got a bit out of hand as younger sister wanted to run around and create havoc while I was signing out all of her older sister’s books (not to mention the obligatory DVD). It was stressful, but also quite comic as Helen, under orders from me, did her best to keep her younger sibling under control while surrounded by science fiction novels with scary covers.
I even found a book that I wanted to take out. With the arrival of the Kindle and Amazon I haven’t taken out a library book in years so this came as quite a surprise to me.
Helen loved the books so much she had to take one with her in the car on the way to school. It was a massive encyclopaedia and as I was driving I was being asked all sorts of awkward questions about earthquakes and volcanoes as these happened to be the pages Helen was looking at. Her enthusiasm to read and go to the library reminds me of what it was like when I went to the library as a kid.
As for that library I used to visit as a boy, well for one reason and another I had to re-visit it about seven years ago. You’re probably expecting me to tell you it had been shut because of budget cuts and merged with one in a neighbouring town.
In fact the reverse is true. It had been doubled in size and there were terminals for public access to the internet. I didn’t have to take any books out, but I believe it had been totally computerised. I’m sure my little American friend would have approved.
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