All hail libraries! Writers and readers would be lost without them.
They deserve the love, especially as their existence is threatened within England, and I expect, other countries. So many have been closed down.
Libraries hold the key to other kingdoms through intricate mazes of billions of words.
Keep them alive, visit them, use them and support their right to remain.
I have loved libraries since I was old enough to hold a book. Libraries have made me the curious and voracious reader I am today. I believe they have also helped me on the path to becoming a writer.
Today’s post centres upon the wonders of the library. It also gives a stern warning to those who push the boundaries of library etiquette.
The gatekeepers of knowledge and entertainment.
True, there are good and bad ones, just like in any job. The brilliant ones are the book geeks who you know are working there for the love of reading; their own and ours. It’s certainly not for the salary.
Warning: if you’re running late for an appointment, never ask a librarian for reading suggestions. They will trap you with their author crushes, photographic memory of what’s on every shelf, and eyes that will pierce into your reading soul, leading you into the cult of ‘The Library’.
I kind of like it but when it comes to books, I’m a cheap date.
Keeping it clean
Do not be that dirty beggar who uses the pages of a library book to wipe your nose, maybe even your arse on. I’ve seen the dubious stains. Get a flipping tissue.
There’s nothing worse than turning a page and finding your fingers stuck to a stranger’s bogey, dinner, or unidentified bodily fluids.
Eat chocolate while you read. I do. However, I do not sully the pages with chocolatey smears. I respect that the next reader may not have chocolate to hand and I’m taunting them by leaving a reminder of what they’re missing.
Is it just me being a bit old ladyish or have libraries become noisier? Back in the day, if you so much as coughed in a library you were slayed by the laser-like death stares of library users.
I visit my local libraries regularly and I’m always astonished with how loud people are in them. Maybe it’s because I’m a noise-intolerant dictator but I don’t expect chatting, music blasting through headphones, and people playing bloody Pokemon Go round the shelves and screeching when they’ve nabbed one.
The library is my church. The quiet is sacrosanct. Go to the flaming pub or playground if you’re not interested in the goods the library has to offer you.
Thank goodness for the scary librarians who give a ‘Shhh’ so forceful it can create a tsunami. They must be obeyed. I think I may have missed my vocation in life.
Return your books on time
Don’t be a selfish git. I’ve reserved that book and have already had to wait a month to read it. You keeping it at home, unread, and as a coffee coaster isn’t doing anyone any good.
Good luck with looking that librarian in the eye when you finally return it a few years later and he/she tells you that the fine is more than the value of your car.
Stealing library books
We come to the most heinous of crimes; stealing library books. This comes in the form of either not checking them out or keeping them forever.
Most libraries have alarms, so good luck trying to style it out when you’re nabbed with Fifty Shades of Grey down your trousers because you were too embarrassed to have it visible on your borrowing history.
Unfortunately some libraries don’t have alarms. It’s often the educational ones. I hope that if you have recently stolen the one copy of that textbook that everyone had to read in your class for the next seminar, that you are struck by the pox.
You have singly ruined their entire education and they will fail because of you. Can you tell this has happened to me many times when I was studying? Yep, still not over it.
Be more like Batman, people.
Everything has its place
If you can’t remember where you got the book from – although it does have those little reference things on it, let’s face it you can’t be arsed to put it back – put it on a trolley.
The lovely librarian will then put it back for you and you will avoid the wrath of the library staff or users wanting to hunt you down for denying them that one fiction novel they’ve been dying to read that has fallen into the black hole of the non-fiction section.
Even if you’re not interested in reading (you monster) libraries offer a multitude of community groups and meeting places. It’s the place to be for reading groups, writing groups, work meetings, educational programmes, knit and natter, and the parent and toddler gatherings, to name a few.
I’m probably going to get shot down in flames by all the parents for this but, hey ho…
Whilst I think it’s great that parents have a place to meet up to play instruments and sing with their babies, does it really have to be right in the middle of the library? It’s really off-putting trying to peruse the shelves when you’re hearing ‘Row, row, row your boat’ on a loop.
Rant over. As you were *worries all her parent followers have left*
We all like a freebie. This is why I’m puzzled that libraries close down apparently due to not enough people using them.
You get to read books for free, often for nearly a month! Not only printed books, but some libraries also offer free electronic book loans. You can also access reference materials and use the computers. All for free.
One day, it’s sad to contemplate, I don’t think we will have libraries. We will be told that there’s no funding for them due to other priorities. I urge you to keep on using them for as long as you can, and your children, and your grandchildren… Please prove me wrong.
I love how the library is a varied landscape of genres and authors. Yes, a bookshop does this too but because you know whatever you pick up in the library will be free to read, you feel less encumbered than you do in a bookshop where ten books are going to cost a fortune.
However, if said books are my future novels, cough up you stingy git.
I love people watching. I love making up back stories for people. It’s the writer in me. The library is a gold mine for this. You will find every walk of life here.
Libraries are full of the young and the old, the homeless and the financially secure, the ailing and the healthy, the uneducated and the educated, the realists and the dreamers, and a wealth of stories for a writer.
The place of the library in the modern world
People who don’t use the library tell me it’s because it is an outdated concept. They rightfully state that libraries cannot provide the endless possibilities that the internet can for reference sources.
Yes, I’d much rather Google something than have to look through a multitude of encyclopedias, but that does not mean I view the library as defunct.
Public libraries have evolved and the savvy ones understand that they cannot be the font of referencing and learning in this technological age. They focus more upon the facilities they can offer and what the local community wants.
Academic libraries still offer staff who have often studied your subject, really know their stuff and can point you in the right direction. An internet search cannot give you that.
As a previous academic, I found there’s nothing more exciting ( I didn’t get out much) than reading a real life reference book, written and published centuries ago, to get that buzzy feeling of being in that writer/scholar’s world. Google cannot give you that. The physical book can. That’s if some student hasn’t already nicked it.
But libraries aren’t enough…
Only because I can never be in them for long enough, I’m always hungry for more books than I can borrow, I’d love a home delivery service for the mountains of novels I bring home every time, and I wish I could bottle that smell of all those books and take a sniff every time my heart feels weary.
Step into the labyrinth of words that is waiting for you in your library and let it work its magic upon you. Keep your libraries alive.