I am thankful for libraries

I am thankful for libraries.

In every new town we move to one of the first things I do is register with the local library. When I look back over the places we have lived, I remember each library so vividly I could probably find my way around them in the dark. I guess it’s no wonder I became a librarian myself!

There have been big libraries and small libraries, in one case it was a library caravan, but here’s just one place we lived in where there was no library and that’s a tiny little village in the centre of Sumatra, Indonesia. When we lived there I had to beg and borrow and steal books. I loaded my suitcase with books on return from every trip home to South Africa, I paid exorbitant prices to ship internationally (I didn’t know about Book Depository then), but best of all was Singapore. From big brand bookshops to my favourite second-hand bookshop tucked away in a side street, I was in heaven.

We are returning to that little village in Indonesia and this time I am older and possibly wiser. There will be Book Depository, there will be Kindling, there will be Audibling, there will be begging, borrowing and stealing… and I know that I will never feel that desperate, sick feeling of having nothing to read next. That feeling when you long to read, but know if you do your book will be finished and there is nothing lined up to replace it. I never want to experience that again.

As a school librarian for the last ten years, I have had access to more books than I could possibly ever read, but in preparation for the big move I have resigned and found myself back at the little library in our tiny South African town.

Walking in, after shielding my eyes against the harsh orangey yellowy glare, I was surprised to see how popular it was. (read: I walked in, tripped over a table leg and brought down a whole display stand causing mayhem). I wondered over to the YA section and although it is just one tiny bookshelf I was really impressed to see the titles are pretty recent. Go our library!

What’s your local library like? Do you use it? Have you ever had that awful nothing to read feeling? How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear from you.

An insider tip – the better the borrower statistics the better chance the librarians will be able to get more funding to buy more books. So wherever you live, support your local library, if you have one, and remember to say hi and thank you to the librarians who make it all happen.

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