Katherine Jay was talking about how libraries fit into her life over on Stompydragons and I couldn’t imagine squeezing all my thoughts into one tiny comment. Instead I’m going to ramble about libraries on my own blog.
My early memories of libraries are not as positive as hers. I remember visiting the library in my first public school. We had library once a week and because I was in grade 5 we had younger reading buddies we helped. I admit to hating it because my reading was below par which made it stressful. My father took me to the library when I was young and made sure I had my own library card, but I don’t have distinct memories of us going together.
My memories of the library start when my boyfriend (now husband) moved into an apartment downtown. I started reading for pleasure in grade twelve, and we started dating in my first year of university my love of books exploded. My husband introduced me to “Bitten” by Kelley Armstrong, I found “Sabriel” by Garth Nix, and read “Pride and Prejudice” for the first time.
We went to the library so often that everyone who worked the checkout desk knew us by name. Some of them would see us arrive and pull our holds so they would be ready and waiting when we finally checked out our stacks of books. One of the librarians put aside the latest issues of Dwell, and Bike so we could get first crack at them. I learned to knit, cross stitch and sew because of books I got out of that library.
Then they announced their plans for a Central Library. We went to every planning meeting. (The ones before they had picked the architect and started the actual design). My husband was even interviewed by a local TV network after one of those meetings. I remember how nervous he was that he hadn’t made his point, that people wouldn’t understand how valuable a central library would be to the city.
The first time my mother watched my son it was so my husband, father and I could got to one of the later meetings when they had picked the architects that would develop the plans for the building. We were broken into groups and our feedback was used to help determine what types of spaces the new library would need. People voiced their opinion that there wasn’t as much need for book space now that ebooks were taking over. Others argued it was important to have an even larger paper book collection in the new space. It was lively and passionate.
Now the new library is open. We visit it frequently. I hunt through the YA section for new reads. My son builds with lego, picks out books about firetrucks, and plays with the light wall. My husband disappears into adult fiction or non-fiction to hunt for books on whatever topic he is currently interested in. I did my first (and only) reading in one of their conference rooms during Word on the Street.
The new library is an essential part of downtown. People gather there in the evening for studying, on the weekends to play games, and during lunch breaks to read.
Do you have a local library you love? Do you use it regularly?