I remember meeting an old work colleague and her daughter for lunch once when The Boy and her daughter were little. Probably about 18months. It was a horrible rainy day, but we didn’t want to go straight home after lunch. So, I suggested taking the kids to the library. Her response was “why?”. She genuinely had no idea why we’d do that. I explained that the kids could play and look at books and we’d all be warm and happy and that you were allowed to talk in the children’s library!
Our local library is run by volunteers, which is a little sad, in the sense that it shouldn’t have come to that. But, it’s also fantastic that these men and women are giving up their free time to keep the library going when so many other local libraries are closing down. The books are all donations, and they sell tea, coffee and other refreshments as well as some old books and other bits and bobs that have been donated to keep them going. With the odd fundraiser thrown in. It’s not the biggest, but it’s got everything you need, and the staff are helpful and friendly.
It makes me sad that so few people now visit the library. I’ll admit, I’ve got a kindle. I love my kindle. It’s fantastic for taking on holiday, finding books you wouldn’t normally pick up (the things it recommends are sometimes a tad…off), and it’s got a dinosaur erotica section you couldn’t find anywhere else! It got me through some long and lonely breastfeeding sessions in public places when there’s no way I could have got a novel into my bag with all of the new-born paraphernalia.
But, why must it be one or the other? Why must we all fall into the categories of “there’s nothing better than a book” or “move with the times!”. I’m most definitely both! I love my kindle. But, I also love holding a book. I still buy books, and we still visit the library most weeks. Here’s why.
Our library, even the smaller one, actually, especially the smaller one, has loads of toys and puzzles for Bobsy to play with and look at, as well as a huge range of books suitable for her age. It’s a free morning out, with no pressure to buy anything, do anything or look your best.
It Encourages Reading
We’ve got loads of books at home, and The Boy even reads on his tablet, but, only ever what’s there in front of him. At the library, he looks around and finds new things he likes.
It’s a Skill
Googling is a skill I think. And I’m certain some people are better at it than others. Sometimes you have to know exactly what to search to find what you are looking for. I’m quite confident our kid’s generation will be awesome Googlers. But, will they be good at looking through a book to find the information they need? This is a hugely important skill, which will one day help them in other areas.
I love taking The Boy to the library when he’s got homework projects and setting him the task of finding something.
To be honest, between leaving school and having The Boy, I’d probably been in a library a handful of times. Most of those as I started maternity leave and thought I’d have lots of time…LOL! But, when I was breastfeeding, certainly at the beginning, I was quite unsure. The library was somewhere I felt safe to sit and feed.
I love looking at libraries. The smaller local ones have their own appeal, but bigger libraries with fantastic artwork and architecture are truly stunning. Husband and I spent hours in Birmingham library last year, it’s beautiful!
They Have Moved With The Times
Depending on budget of course! Some of the newer libraries are extremely high-tech, with digital media labs, fancy storage things that bring your book up from the realms of the beyond and all sorts.