I am thankful for libraries

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 Kindle‘ing, there will be AudioAudible‘ling, 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.

11 Comments

  • I been going to libraries since I was a kid. My mom read a lot so she also took us to the library especially their summer reading programs. Now I’m back in my home state once again in a smaller city and for sure I visit the library. Actually it is a very busy library. There is always at least a half full parking lot. I haven’t made my way to the library one city over but I heard it’s even better because it has a cafe.

  • Libraries are so good, I must take my son more often as we have a new one in our town. I am so excited to hear about your big move. How do you feel about the Kindle v real book? I’ve not got a kindle yet but to be fair, I’ve sadly not read much since my son arrived! Thank you for linking to #Findtribe

  • What a sweet post, and topical considering Thanksgiving around the corner! (If you celebrate Thankgiving.) My library is fairly small, as I live in a small town, but it’s practically nextdoor to me and has an amazing selection of ebooks. Now that I’m older, I wish that I had visited the library more as a child when I lived in a town with a giant library. But my school libraries were always amazing.

  • I have to agree with Faye. I also came from the Philippines and it’s sad how no one invested on libraries and realized their importance.
    I recently moved to the UK and I absolutely enjoy going to the library every week! The librarians are friendly and accommodating, plus they offer various opportunities to volunteer or activities for all age groups. It’s a lot of fun 🙂

  • Libraries like that here in the Philippines are non-existent. 🙁 Books are already so expensive and only the middle class can have the means to purchase them, and libraries are still so lacking, too. If there are libraries, it heavily caters only to those who are in the academe. Makes you really wonder why there are so many illiterate here… it’s because there are not enough books in the library inaccessible to them and their level, to help them gradually learn and read better. I’m glad that you’ve gone to many amazing libraries, though! When I move to France with my fiancé I’ll have to check out their local library there!

  • Yes! I absolutely love my local library. I actually volunteer there every summer :).

  • Love my library!! I appreciate your tip at the end, too. I never really thought about the fact that borrower statistics affect funding – I just always assumed that it was based on taxes and nothing else.

  • I love my local library – in my teens I’d just go in and pick really random titles from the non-fiction section just so I could learn about new things. The difference between teepees and yurts, the history of fountain pens, the best way to train your cat… I learnt it all at the library! 🙂 I haven’t used it as much in recent years, mainly because of my Kindle, but I’m going back now with my baby daughter. They have a great bookstart scheme which rewards kids with books of their own if they collect enough stamps on their borrowing card. x #findyourtribe

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