Showing and Promoting the Library Love

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.

Librarians

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

d8c6708bddafce59d4a61474e0b0aee7Do 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.

Shhh!

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

Dmjaxmy05njzinjc5zwrimzg2ywrj_51e737e32869bon’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.

3cf9ea832dd3911dee9693eacdb0f8aeMost 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.

Community-minded

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*

Freebies!

images-1We 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.

Discovery

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.

People watching

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

Pimage142eople 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…

O6400b4d28d122bfa1876eda6a27d169enly 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.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer and blogger. When not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, the cat, and the Husband. Not particularly in that order.

39 comments on “Showing and Promoting the Library Love

    1. I really believe that we would be lost without them. Batman is a good library user isn’t he?

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on this post. I appreciate it.

  1. Have to admit, it’s been long since I last borrowed a book. Especially when Ex-pat’ing, I buy e-books and send them to my Kindle. But back in my study-days, I frequented the library almost daily. Oh and when I was a kid, we had a weekly “book-bus” visiting my neighbourhood once a week. They had a nice selection of the books from the library – ad if there was anything spesific you wanted to borrow, you could “place and order” and hey would bring it for you next week. I remember that being a fun happening every week when the book-bus arrived.

    I do agree with you, we should all frequent the libraries to ensure their future existence. I will mak a point of taking my son to the library soon, as he needs to read more danish anyways. Thank you for reminding me!

    1. Thanks for reminding me of the mobile library. I loved it when that bus visited the estate I lived on. Unfortunately it didn’t last long due to funding. You hardly see them at all nowadays.

      I’m pleased my post has encouraged you to take your son to the library. The younger generation will be the ones who need to defend their libraries.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    1. Something similar happened to me when I was in my twenties. Up until then I thought libraries were for kids. I tried the local one out and now you can’t get me out of them!

  2. It’s true that the people watching alone is reason enough to make a library visit. The stories of the people visiting, if you can get them chatting, rival in number the books on the shelves.Thanks for another hilarious and spot-on post!

    1. The people watching opportunities alone could draw people in. Maybe libraries should advertise this as a selling point!

      Pleased you enjoyed reading it.

  3. I love libraries. I probably spent more time in them than in any other “not a house” building as a child and teen. Now it’s probably tied with the grocery store LOL. (mom life)

    I have access to so many books for free! I can try before I buy. If I love it, then I can buy it, and if I hate it then I’ll be glad I didn’t buy it.

    My library has a separate floor for children and it took me awhile to get over the volume level thing. But I think when you stick(like ours) a bunch of toys, a play house, etc. You have to expect a certain amount of noise from kids, though there’s some child chatter, I’ve never experienced any shouting or screaming.

    And then the other floor is completely quiet and I’m definitely old school. “Shhh, quiet in the library.” as the kids and I pass through it.

    With kids, their books are so expensive! And some of them are so dumb. It’s nice they can go and pick up a wide selection each time.

    *sigh* You’ll get a kick out of this, but we’ve lost a library book and for the life of me I can’t find it anywhere. My husband asked what I was doing and I had to say, “I’m trying to find Finding Nemo.” So much irony in that statement. I’m thinking of just telling them to hit me with the replacement fee now cause I can’t find that silly book.

    1. Ha ha ha! What a great book to lose. The librarian is going to die laughing when you confess!

      I love a big library with lots of levels. That’s a day out in itself! I don’t have a problem with children being in the library. It’s lovely seeing them enjoy it. I just wish they’d put the parent and toddler singing groups in another room!

      Great insights in your comment Kristen, thank you!

      1. I noticed last week when we went in that they have a room off the side of the children’s floor where they were doing some sort of parent/child event.

        It’d be nice if more libraries made use of separate rooms. One of the things I think is cool is our third floor is dedicated entirely to research(never been up there) and I imagine that if someone went in there with that purpose they’d be completely undisturbed LOL. The other nice bit is they have about 4-5 rooms on the main(adult) floor that are quiet rooms with a table and chairs, so you could go in and do a study group, research, write a paper, whatever you wanted and not have to worry about disturbing anyone else or having them disturb you.

        Oh gosh, I can see it now. “I’m so sorry, but I can’t find Nemo and I can’t afford to go to Australia.”

        1. Your library sounds amazing! The larger ones in cities tend to offer more obviously. I still think the little libraries should be shown the love too. They’re the ones most threatened with closure unfortunately.

          I think we should all go on the hunt for Nemo with you! There’s a blog post in that, ha ha!

  4. This is great! I actually work as circulation staff at a campus library. Part of my job is to keep a section of books in order and pretty. I HATE when people try to put things back when they don’t understand how the Dewey Decimal System works. At least at my library, we would rather you leave a book on a table than put it away in the wrong spot. That way we know what books are used more often and can have a better selection in the future. Libraries are great, calming, beautiful places. I’m so glad you agree they should be kept that way.

  5. I’ve always loved the library! I miss the NYC public library system so much – any book you could imagine within easy reach. Libraries have definitely gotten more techy over the past few years. I love that you can now even borrow e-books!

    1. Libraries are moving with the times and I think that unfortunately many people still see them as the outdated places from their childhood. I kind of like it being ‘old school’ anyway.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  6. I love libraries, too! I felt like I was betraying the library when I bought my Kindle, but here in the states you can actually borrow books on your kindle from your local library! I love bringing my toddler to the weekly story times also. I want to keep the library love going to the next generation!

    1. I think many people don’t realise that you can get e books on loan from the library. There are libraries in England that offer this too.

      I love that you’re raising a potential library user. Thank you!

  7. I don’t use the library as much these days because I read a lot of Ebooks now. But I agree they are a great community resource. A friend told me a recently a library I grew up with faced closure or being staffed by volunteers. They chose volunteers but now they have no money and no training 🙁 On the plus side, I meet friends in Birmingham sometimes and I LOVE going to the huge library there. Such a great example of a modern library.

    1. I’ve heard this a lot; libraries having to be run by volunteers. It’s appalling it has to be that way but we should be so grateful to those who step up and do it. To be honest, paid librarians have meagre salaries. Thank goodness for book geeks who do it for the sheer love of it!

  8. Gosh, it has been a long time since I’ve been to the library! I guess I read so much online and use E books so much. I do love going to the library, though. I’ll try to carve out some time this week for a library excursion.

    1. It’s such a great thing to do as a family. I have fond memories of going to the library as a child too. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Amy!

      1. I remember getting the first library computer that would eventually replace the card catelog. Now, all you see is computers. Don’t get me wrong, computers are my meal ticket, but you never have to wait for a book to ‘load’.

        1. Libraries can still be relevant in the technological age, particularly academic ones.

          You’re right, a book is just sitting there waiting to be opened. No loading required!

  9. I love libraries! When I was a kid, at one point my sister and I were bringing home stacks from three different libraries, simply because one wasn’t enough to sustain our voracious reading habits.

    Although I do sometimes wince at the levels of sound kids can reach, at the same time, I don’t mind it too much. Nor do I mind the singing. It’s part of storytime at our library, and the fact that a new generation of kids is being taught that books are fun cancels out any irritation I might have about the noise. Yes, my library is like my church (in fact, once I learned that both opened at the same time on Sunday, I went to the library exclusively), but that doesn’t mean people need to glare and hiss “Shhhhhh!” They’re kids. And I’d much rather deal with a little noise than see my library close because families with small children (who are a major portion of the patrons) don’t feel welcome.

    1. I still go to two different counties’ libraries as I get through my book loans at a lightning speed.

      I get your point about kids being encouraged to be in the library through these groups. I don’t have an issue with that at all. It’s just that for me, I have always viewed the library as a quiet oasis of peace where I can relax, take my time to find books and chill.

      I understand that these groups need to happen but when the library has another large room, away from the library that can be used for singing groups, I don’t understand why it’s not used.

      I love seeing excited kids looking for books and squealing in delight. I love seeing schools bringing kids in for story time. I promise I have never uttered ‘Shh’ at a single child in a library. I just see the library as a refuge. My issue I guess.

      1. I think everyone has their own opinion on how a library should be, influenced by their experiences in the past. There’s no wrong opinion, just different opinions, and some libraries might not fit how some people think they should be.

        I grew up in that library so I would also laugh at the librarians in the books I read who were so glaring and strict–they were nothing like the warm, loving librarians I know. I have seen patrons come in who complain about the noise, however, and I can understand wanting peace and quiet in a library.

        Thankfully, our library is very long, in that it’s multiple buildings that were later joined together, so the further adult reference room is at the other end of the library from the children’s area, so there’s better quiet in the back–along with comfortable chairs and tables to sit at.

  10. The library has always been one of my favorite places and it warms my heart that my children love it just as much! It makes me sad to hear many are closing down….don’t people know how amazing they are?!

    1. If only they did! From my experience as an English teacher the library was often seen as very uncool and geeky. I loved the kids who didn’t care and embraced the book geekery by often going into the school library!

  11. What a fun post. I love libraries too. I even worked as a school librarian. I was like Batman. This would have made a great poster in my library. 🙂

  12. I love this post! The library is such a wonderful place. It’s sad that people don’t take advantage and read more! I know I will spend a lot of time with my little guy there when he gets a bit older (probably not singing or making too much noise 😉 )

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post and understand the library love, Melissa!

      I promise I’m not anti children in the library! Your son has such a treat in store for him when he starts going to the library.

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