Celebrating National Libraries Day

One of my most exciting memories was the time I progressed from Junior to Teenager in my local library. I remember looking forward to my weekly trip to the library with my father, losing myself in the rows and rows of books. I would come home and lay the books across the living room floor and show my parents one-by-one each book that I chose. I would rest my head on my father’s shoulder and read my library books one by one in the evenings. I would carry all of them around with me, not just the one that I was reading at the time.

I would sometimes be left in the library while my parents went shopping, safe in the knowledge that surrounded by books, they would find me exactly in the same place where they left me. (Apart from the time the library closed during lunchtime and I was told by the librarian to wait in the street for my parents to return. My mother was flabbergasted and didn’t leave me in the trusting care of books again…)

Visiting a library was not always a comfortable experience for me. In toilet training me, my mother would give me a book to read in order to keep me still. All well and good until I began visiting the library and in similarly to Pavlov’s dog, needed to visit the little girl’s room more or less as soon as I set foot in the building! Fortunately for me (and the library staff) this has now passed, more through self-determination and willpower than anything else!

I can’t quite describe the feeling I have when I now walk into a library. I’m reminded of the trips I used to have with my father. I’m reminded of my innocent care free childhood. National Libraries Day is on 4th February (incidentally my father’s 70th birthday) and our libraries need us more than ever. With the threat of Internet sites such as Amazon (a regular haunt of mine), libraries are becoming increasingly threatened. They need to be saved. Researching for my children’s book at the local library reminded me that I’m not the only child who was (and still is) book obsessed. I have visited the children’s section of my library on several occasions and have smiled at the younger children sprawled on the floor reading with their parents, the older children laid back on bean bags. They were even there longer than me, last weekend one child didn’t even want to leave when it was time to go to Grandma’s. Times have not changed and I don’t think they ever will. I even want them to. Libraries are needed just as much now as eighteen years ago when I first set foot into the teenager’s lair.

Books aside, libraries are needed to maintain and in some cases rebuild communities. It is a chance for people to come together through reading time, parent and toddler group even tai chi. It is a chance for writers to engage with their readers and readers to engage with writers. Not long ago my husband took me to the largest bookshop in Europe, I was beside myself with excitement. It had five floors and I examined each floor thoroughly, yet I walked out empty-handed. I was in absolute heaven as I picked many books up, scanned the backs, skimmed the pages, smelt the pages even but I returned them to their shelves again and again. Set me loose in a library however and I will come away with my arms full. Maybe the fact that the books are free to learn from and to experience, I am more open to choosing them. Following this excursion my husband brought me £20.00 worth of Amazon credit to buy books with. This was at least two months ago and I’m still choosing which books to buy.

My ask of you is to visit your library tomorrow on National Libraries Day. Join a library. Take a book out, a DVD or even a CD. Check out the communities bulletin board. Take your children. Learn something new. A language or a musical instrument. Learn to love your library!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. grandmac
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 17:35:34

    Don’t forget you can now access the internet in your local library too.

    I agree with you. Many years ago when the public library system started they were the route out of poverty for many people. The free access enabled the poor to educate themselves through books and so gain good employment. Long may they continue.


    • alphabetgames
      Feb 03, 2012 @ 22:08:31

      Long may they continue indeed.

      Libraries are still the route out of poverty for people, unfortunately poverty is still evident in our society as much now as in the past. Of course access to the internet brings the world to people’s doorsteps. The world which for some would otherwise be unknown.


  2. Rubyslippers
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 20:23:34

    I too have good memories of visiting a library. Most of them were also with my father, but also with my sister. We used to walk to a little library near where we used to live. I came out every week with the maximum amount of books allowed at one time (I think it was as many any as 7). Off I trotted down the road weighed down with all these books and returning them again a week later having not opened a single one. My sister on the other hand took out two books and read both cover to cover!

    Despite this I think libraries are wonderful places to go, quiet and calm with only the sound of pages turning and that noisy stamp librarians use that say what date the book needs returning. (I always wanted to have a go with one of those).

    My children have enjoyed visits to the library and we have been to a mobile one that visits our village on the way home from school many times.

    I hope libraries continue for many more years to come!

    Ps My sister used to want to be a librarian. She was also a big fan of Michael Jackson and when she listened to ‘Liberian Girl’ she used to think he was singing to her and he was saying ‘librarian girl’. Rather amuzing : ) x x

    Pps My sister is also the wonderful person who writes these blogs!


    • alphabetgames
      Feb 03, 2012 @ 22:32:00

      I don’t remember laughing as hard than I have while reading your comment!!

      I failed to mention another reason why libraries should and must be saved. They bring families together. They create memories that last. I am so glad that you still enjoy the library and your children too. I hope that their enjoyment will grow with them as it did for me.

      Thank you for your lovely comment and for making me laugh!


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