Wednesday Wing…..Let’s Talk About Libraries #wwwblogs

Wednesday Wing is a series of posts where we look at books from the POV of the reader.

Rosie's Notebook

Let’s talk about Libraries.

Local libraries are dying out.

Reading Original

In the last year I think I have visited Fleet library just three times. On each occasion I have headed for the upstairs non-fiction section. Before I began reviewing I was a regular visitor devouring all the shelves of their books. I’ve always liked to read, as a child we lived in the countryside and had a mobile library van come and visit once every two weeks. I was lucky enough to be able to introduce my kids to the magical experience of the library bus (as they called it) when we visited their Grandparents. There’s nothing like standing at the dis-used official bus stop watching the vehicle containing dreams and adventure driving down the road and stopping just for you.

Now it’s over to you, tell me about your local library, your own experiences at libraries or a favourite library around the world.

Or tell me about new community libraries, for instance, when ever I go to see friends I take a stack of books for them to choose any they might want to read. I’m my own mobile library!

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54 thoughts on “Wednesday Wing…..Let’s Talk About Libraries #wwwblogs

  1. I’ve been going to libraries since my parents first took me to St James Library, Northampton, in 1963 when I was 4, and we always went every Saturday to change our books. I’ve used them on and off, to a greater or larger extent for years…. but I don’t anymore. Why not? Amazon. I read 95% of my books on my Kindle, and download them from Amazon. So I am one of the people who’s caused the shift… 😦

    Trouble is, I just prefer reading on a Kindle, and can do so without leaving the comfort of my own home. Yes, I do think it’s very sad and yes I should do more but just… don’t. On the other hand, I donate books to charity shops and have sent them to those libraries in old telephone boxes and things that people set up!!

    Alas, the world changes all the time, and it’s hard to halt the flow…..

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  2. Our local library is pretty good- and they have end of month sales on a Friday and Saturday when books are sold – donated by the community – to raise funds for purchase new books. They also hold story telling sessions for children.

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  3. What a great idea to take books when you visit! I might steal that one 🙂 I’ve always read a lot and went to the library religiously until, like Terry, I began to use Amazon and other online book stores. There’s so much more choice. But I’m determined to check out the library here, when I find it, and see what other things they offer like maybe a coffee shop….it would be a real shame if they became obsolete.

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  4. I used the library a lot when the children were little – we went two or three times a week and would spend hours browsing and reading together. Without getting political, I don’t think it’s as much a shift to eBook use as the cuts to local authority spending that are threatening libraries – which is awful as they are a fantastic resource for children in particular who may not otherwise have access to such a wide range of books.

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  5. Just last week we had an email round to say that our mobile library is under threat…again. I haven’t used this facility since my children were small but it does provide a lifeline to those who struggle to get out of our village. Not everyone drives and the standing joke here is that you can catch a bus to town on a Tuesday and come back on a Thursday the public transport is that sporadic. My use of the local town library is the same I’m ashamed to say and I feel I really should go in it more but I don’t need any more books to read with my Kindle bulging as it is.

    I’d hate to see the loss of libraries but do appreciate that things move on and with so much information available on the internet as well you don’t even need them as much for research purposes.

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  6. Wonderful topic! I live in Berlin very close to a library that is only available in Berlin: Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus. It’s big and cozy and welcoming, has a fantastic English Bookshop and all my friends know exactly what to gift me for Christmas or my birthday: a gift coupon at Dussmann. I also grew up with books, and even had Mum tell my friends she wouldn’t let me go out to play, so that I could stay in and read. I was happy like that.

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  7. I tutor at the local community centre on Wednesday. In between classes I would go downstairs to the library. To save on funds Pembrokeshire County Council chose to close one library in the County on one day of each week. In Tenby it’s Wednesday – the day I tutor there. It’s surprising to see how many people go to the door of the library still – to find it closed. Such a shame.

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  8. I agree that e-books are not the only responsible. A lot of people don’t read in any format, or read free content on the internet but wouldn’t read a book. And the funding cuts mean that many of the small local libraries are run thanks to volunteers. I did volunteer for the local library but the post had been filled and now I’m volunteering at the local radio, although there are interesting options around (like organising reading groups for kids).

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  9. Like many, many love affair with the library and the world of books began at a very early age. There’s something so magical about finding yourself standing in this big place and surrounded by nothing but books. There was a sense of power there. Reading became my refuge when I was sick and home from school, when it rained, when it snowed, when the children were off at school, when everything around me turned to pot. Living in Santa Monica, California I discovered their main library on Sixth Street, where on any given day, it was filled to capacity. I was amazed that here the homeless would languish not just because they had no place else to go, or that it was cold outside. But I imagined because they felt a sense of welcoming. I spent many hours there, like them, reading magazines, rifling through the shelves in anticipation of my next escape to someplace wonderful. In the age of technology, I am a relic. For me there’s nothing more exciting than a book. Feeling the power of its weight in my hands, smelling the paper, this is magic. I can’t imagine where we would be without libraries. But I fear, one day, we’ll look around and they’ll all be gone.

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  10. I grew up with the library bus too! All summer we looked forward to the bus driving down our street and in bathing suits and wet hair, we’d climb aboard and lose ourselves in books. It was perfect. I don’t see any of those trucks anymore and I’m sorry my children never got to experience it. Our local library is quite small and I often have to wait for a popular book. I go now just to support it as I do buy a lot of ebooks. But I’m nostalgic for those days…Thank you for this walk down memory lane😊

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    • The library bus was brill! We used to cycle to it and then struggle to put all our books on our bikes for the ride home, it made an afternoon’s outing though, and kept us amused.

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  11. I started reading before I was five, and we went to the library every Saturday. By the time I was in third, I had read all there was to read in the Children’s section, and my mother was digging through books in the “Grown Up” section that were suitable for me. But she didn’t like me staying inside reading all the time, and insisted I put down my books and go outside in the fresh air (good) and sunshine (bad). To make her happy, I would hide my book under my shirt, go outdoors and climb a tree, and sit there reading until time to go inside again. 🙂 To this day, she doesn’t know that. (My big, bad secret.)

    I’m a book hoarder, I’m afraid, and have my own library now, with shelves overloaded to capacity. I still collect print books all the time, but I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. It’s more comfortable for my arthritic hands, I can adjust the font for my tired, old eyes, and I love tapping a word & seeing the definition pop up. Plus I can highlight without damaging my precious print books.

    I’m not helping libraries at all, I guess, though someday, I might clear off my bottom shelves, where I relegate books I was disappointed in, and donate them to the closest one around here. Maybe. It’s hard for me to consider parting with even those I didn’t enjoy.

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      • The ONLY grounds I have to write at all, though I appreciate your calling it “great.” I have no other training whatsoever, beyond my 12th grade high school education. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to work up my courage to give it a go, with naught (see what I did there?) but a basic education, a passion for reading, and 70+ years of life experiences to guide me through. *grin* I’m still beaming over your wonderful reviews of my books. That’s reward enough, right there! (Almost. 😀 )

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  12. My local library in Plymouth, MA, was a source of delight when I was growing up. Housed in a white stone building with pillars in the front, it was entered via a path through a rows of linden trees. The children’s section downstairs was below ground but had leaded glass windows to let in light and huge (to me at the time) leather chairs for curling up and reading. I discovered so many wonderful books there, and loved it on rainy Saturdays. My parents were huge readers so a trip to the library every Saturday morning was on the schedule. When it rained, they left me there while they did their shopping.

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  13. I used to love my weekly visits to the library when I was a child. It was such a treat having all those books to choose from. I continued regular library visits with my own children, and it was a treat to share their enjoyment. I have mixed feelings about having hundreds of books on my Kindle, which means I rarely visit my local library these days.

    The most amazing library I’ve visited is Trinity College Library, Dublin.

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  14. Hi Rosie – we had lots of books at home so as kids never went to the library – it was 5 miles away. I used the school library a lot – mostly to read, not often to refer – at least I don’t think so.

    Now I go to the local library on occasions – but I must make a point of going more often … I usually buy my books, or kindle them … I too donate extra books as and when.

    I love going to the British Library and seeing the King’s Library … even if it is behind glass and protected. I was impressed by the Haddington Library in Scotland when I was visiting there a while ago ..

    Cheers – otherwise I’ll never stop – I have to say I’m grateful for Wiki … but I have a 1926 Encyclopedia – 26 volumes … here … fascinating to see what everyone is saying about libraries. Hilary

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  15. When I enter our local library, I’m surrounded not only by books but also by history. As I walk down the aisles, perusing shelf after shelf, I think of all those authors, those millions upon millions of words…and I’m awed. The hush inside is the same kind of sacred reverence I feel in a church. Visiting a library is affirmation for a writer.

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  16. I loved my Saturday visits to the Library as a child, but the best time was when i was old enough to use the adult Library but still allowed to frequent the children’s Library, so I took home books from both sections.
    For most of my 35 years teaching career I ran the Junior school Library. I was so lucky to be able to buy so many lovely books for the children and of course read them myself too. I’m just about getting used to reading adult books again!

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  17. We moved to South Carolina from Virginia 8 years ago. Compared to VA, the libraries in SC are smaller and not as well stocked, but I still like going into them. However, most often now I’m renting e-books from the library as opposed to books.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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  18. Our local library is only 2 blocks away so I’m there often. When we spent 5 months in Australia last year, we downloaded audio books from the library here in Victoria BC Canada.
    Those audio book made the endless outback roads seem much shorter.
    Our library lends books, CD’s, DVD’s, eBooks, audio books (by download, on MP3 players, and on CD), and toys. It has 2 dozen computers that are always busy. I’m told it has a massive range of magazines that can be read online as well but I’ve never tried.
    There are quiet, cozy reading areas and a lovely room with leadlight windows and a big old (dormant) fireplace that can be booked for meetings.
    It hosts author events and supports local writers with the Emerging Authors Collection.
    Through it all, the librarians are helpful and put up with no end of nonsense.
    I buy all my own eBooks but when I want print, I put a hold on a title online and all I have to do is pick it up off the hold shelf a day or two later.
    At Christmas I always take the staff a big box of chocolates and a card with a heartfelt thank you note.
    In case it’s isn’t obvious, I love the library.

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  19. Pingback: Library thing – Take Five Authors

  20. As you know. I’m an ex-Librarian, and have blogged about the demise of libraries frequently. People really need to USE them: apart from the money authors make via PLR, once a book collection has been pulped, it can never be built up again. OK, most people on here are articulate, have had books read to them when young etc etc,,,BUT there are so many children whose parents CANNOT AFFORD to buy books…not even in a charity shop. LIbraries are FREE. The best start fro any child is to read stories/have stories read to them. And libraries are a safe warm place for those out of work or ‘latchkey’ kids to go to. Rant…rant…

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  21. Unlike most–if not all–of your commentators, I am from the USA. My library in Massachusetts is still a treasure trove of paper books, but it is much more. When my town’s power was out in the coldest days of winter for nearly a week, the library, which has a generator shared by the cluster of community service buildings, opened the community room as a pet warming space. I have taken water color and drawing classes at the library. I am a volunteer tutor for the after-school study drop-in program. The library participates in a regional ebook program that allows us to use our readers from home with our library card. There is a book discussion group, a writers’ group, a knit and read group. There have been sleepovers for kids and their stuffies; there is a monthly movie-and-popcorn night. I know some libraries here are troubled, but our library is the heart of our town, and we know it.

    With all that, the very best thing for me is my weekly trip home with three or four new books to read. I still sometimes stop on the way to start a book that I just can’t wait a moment longer to begin. My life would be dimmed without our library and the amazing librarians who work ceaselessly to unite the community. Maggie Bolitho,who commented above, has a great idea. I’m baking cookies this week to bring on Friday as a thanks gift.

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    • Hi Sally, your library sounds adorable, I love the e-reader book borrowing you have a great team of librarians and your cookies will make them feel really appreciated. Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your lovely library.

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