Today I am thankful

I am lucky enough to work in a school library in South Africa, not only because so many of our schools are not privileged enough to have a library. But sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. I tend to be drawn up in my dream of where I would like to take our library, only to be inhibited time and time again by financial constraints. I often look around the room just seeing the ‘if only’ and forget how far we have come in the seven years I have been working here.

This week was ‘Back to School’. In our corner of South Africa, January and February are stifling hot and humid and during these months our library is particularly popular for its ice-cold air conditioning. Add that to students returning from their six week summer holiday  desperate for something new to read and you can see why my first week of the year is always busy.

I needed someone to wake me up… New to our school he arrived one lunch break, stopped in the doorway and exclaimed WOW! Wow… He went on to explain that the school he came from did not have such a big library. He asked for a particular book, one of our more popular titles and as I handed it to him he clutched it so hard to his chest I was a little concerned we may never see it again! His old school didn’t have this series, and he couldn’t wait to read it…

Needless to say this student made my week, and probably my month… I look around our library and I am thankful.

Small indie bookshops vs. online retailers

In recent news France hopes to pass a law banning free shipping offered by online book retailers in a bid to protect the small physical bookshops.

French senators pass ‘anti-Amazon’ law to protect small retailers

What is your opinion? Should governments endeavour to save small indie bookshops or is it inevitable that large corporate businesses will eventually take over this industry, especially as eBooks increase in popularity?

I live in a small rural community, where the only book shop available is a small branch of a large chain. While my personal purchases are largely digital, I do buy the majority of our library’s physical stock online, and yes I would definitely miss the free shipping! Without it our library would contain fewer books and lack the diversity our students deserve.

Having said this there is one indie book seller who would be sorely missed. She travels around South Africa with her vehicle stacked to the hilt with a wide range of books, dispensing encouragement, advice and friendship to anyone lucky enough to meet her. I owe basket full of gratitude to Audrey of ‘Hedgehog Books’ who has over the years given me invaluable advice. Her product knowledge is phenomenal and it is this, along with her enthusiasm, that makes her the success she is! Thank you Audrey 🙂

To contact Audrey  at Hedgehog Books email: hedgehog@iafrica.com

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