Libraries are my happy place. Not “the” happy place, I find it relaxing to meander the shelves in a bookstore after a busy day. But libraries are close.
My earliest library memory is being six years old in the Benalla East Primary School seeking permission to read the fiction books. Weirdly I picture that occurring in the next school library: Manifold Heights Primary. That is where Mr Hyland, the librarian, asked me what I thought of a character in a book I was returning. We were confused because we both pronounced the name differently, because, reading.
A lot of my first graduate degree was spent in this library. Not that particular reading room though. Not after I nearly flipped backward on the antique chairs. Kathleen and I would line up before it opened to get desk space for the day. The internet access barely existed and every book dropped would echo through the mammoth space. You can’t borrow books from that library.
Now libraries are a place for me to get work done, curl up and read, and sometimes even borrow a book. Not that I need to visit the library for that last one. I have an ebook currently checked out from the Seattle Public Library. Shhh, don’t tell them I no longer live in the area. The wait was too late at my local library.
It’s National Library Week here in the US, which prompted this reflection. Libraries have changed a lot. No longer is the Mrs Pince-like stern woman stalking the stacks, ready to admonish any noisemakers. I love that the downtown Seattle library is a place of community. A mix of people share the building, playing games, reading, studying, or working. It’s a gorgeous glass building, so you often see portrait shoots. My favorite was a lunchtime ballet performance. The book dominos were pretty cool too.
What you can borrow has changed too. Along with the music and movies, the Whatcom County Library recently loaned public transit passes. The Seattle library offers wifi hotspots and passes to local museums and galleries. Oh, and they have a lot of books too.
The pretty library in Melbourne has a multimedia center where kids can learn to make movies. It’s not stuffy and intimidating at all.
So, if you haven’t been to a library in years, it’s time to head back. And ignore the national in National Library Week. Let’s make it International Library Week.
That last paragraph is really promotional, but this isn’t a sponsored post. I just like libraries. However, if you do want to support libraries, Out of Print has limited edition Harry Potter shirts available until April 15, 2018. A portion of each sale goes to rebuilding libraries in Puerto Rico. Use this link to save $5. I think I get a credit too, but I can’t find the emails confirming it. I love the shirts and wear them all the time.
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