The Joy Of Libraries
An Amazingly Useful And Unique Concept
I just started writing this in Google Docs and then Grammarly asked if I wanted to sign up. I thought I had Grammarly everywhere but obviously not on this laptop which will be my computer home for my week in Alnwick. I wasn’t sure if I could write tonight and the lovely place I am staying in has wifi and TV issues, but thanks to DVD, a USB stick and a portable wifi hub provided by the owner I can actually write and post something, although I would have had the option of tethering to my phone.
I then started thinking about the real concept of a library and how important they are in any society, so here are my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.
Why Libraries Are A Near-Perfect Concept
I have held a library card all my life, well ever since I was old enough to hold one. I was lucky to be able to read before I started Primary School because my mum and dad taught me and turned me into a voracious reader. This is something I passed on to my daughters and was surprised at the anger it caused in some teachers, but that was wiped out by the sheer joy it caused in others.
My daughters used libraries for books and computer access, for both school projects and their own pleasure, and the fact they are free at the point of service means that everyone is able to use them while abiding by certain rules.
Libraries are probably the only place where you can go, learn and take things away (return them), without being pressured into buying things or spending any money. Yes, they are funded by taxes but they are not designed to make a profit, only to help people.
When I was unemployed I used the library to read books that I couldn’t afford to buy and to use computer systems to research things that I needed to know and to put together a CV that eventually helped me get back into work. For me, that was over twenty years ago but for a lot of people, libraries are essential refuges from the corporate world.
Right-wing governments are trying to close down free libraries because they allow people to educate themselves. Those banned books? Your local library will either have them or be able to get them for you.
If you can’t afford to buy a book you can borrow it for nothing from the library as long as you have a card, and here you can see my old battered but still functional card for Newcastle Libraries.
Libraries encourage people to do more with their lives. You will never walk into a library and think I don’t think I can afford this. The Lit and Phil is an independent library in Newcastle which has been host to many important historical events, but people are still welcome within its walls to enjoy the books and the surroundings.
Again after my last redundancy, I enjoyed spending a lot of time there just enjoying the surroundings, reading books, eating cake and drinking tea and coffee. The food and drink were not free but the atmosphere and reading were.
Libraries are places where you can explore and go on a mental adventure. I am lucky enough to have four in easy reach for me and I do visit them often.
If you don’t have a library card, get one. If you don’t use a library, find one and you will not regret taking advantage of the facilities behind the library doors.
The song I have included is Belle and Sebastian's "Wrapped Up In Books".
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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Congratulations on top story! Good story
Loved this personal history! Librarians are always trying to help their community more and more, and it is feedback like this that allows them to do so
I agree with you on your view. I love the library. This was a weekly affair with my children and I To go there. I think it is a shame that we still need to discuss. Banning of books, what year is this? Thank you Mike for always writing about something that means so much to everyone. Congratulations
Amazing story!! Libraries have always been my safe space and you do a great job explaining why and the broader value they bring to society.
This kind of stuff is why I got my Master's degree in Library and Information Science. Sadly, the career path didn't pan out, but that's another story. Libraries offer a wide array of services, resources, and expertise that you may not find elsewhere -- certainly not without paying fees, subscriptions, tuitions, memberships, and so on. Not everyone has the luxury of those commitments of money and other resources. The public libraries you're talking about are vital, I'd argue, for a society that cares for its people -- which is what societies are supposed to do. The public library can be a cultural hub for readings, performances, lectures, maps, and much more. Which is great for minorities or just members of a society who want to retain their selfness in the face of corporate standardization. Many libraries, such as legal or medical, are not necessarily open to the public -- which makes sense. Academic libraries also offer a surprising number of resources. I can't speak for the US or other nations, but here in Canada, anyone in the public can get a membership at a university library. You might not have all the access and privileges as students, faculty, or staff, but that's to be expected. Always great to see libraries getting some love. So thanks for that, and congrats on Top Story. :)
I love this and feel this as I always feel at home with books and libraries are my heart’s home. Congratulations on the top story brother!!!
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I agree! They are actually the only place in 2023 where you can go and receive a service without the expectation of spending money
A great read, a well deserved top story 👏
Nice piece! I never knew I had so many library related memories!
This article beautifully captures the essence of libraries and their significance in our lives. It highlights how libraries not only provide us with access to information but also serve as a community space where people can gather, learn, and connect with each other. The author's personal anecdotes and reflections add a personal touch to the article, making it a delightful read. Overall, this article celebrates the joy of libraries and reminds us of the invaluable role they play in our society.
Have loved libraries since I learned how to read. What a blissful place to be surrounded by free books and all those stories, information, and words. Congrats Mike! 😊❤️
Congratulations on the top story Mike. My dad used to take us to the library all the time as kids and I took mine. They are avid readers now
Congratulations on Top Story!!
I love libraries. It is an amazing concept that so much is offered freely. Well at least in the U.S. our taxes go to fund free libraries. But the payoff is amazing.
I am loving this series! Good idea Mike! Personally, I love my local library. The resources are fantastic. I use the digital access for ebooks and magazines, and I really like that. But I do go to my local library quite often, there's always something interesting happening. Congrats on Top Story!
Congratulations to you!!!!🥰😁
Congrats on the Top Story. Good one.
I’ve always loved libraries … for me, a true home from home and, at times, a refuge. These days I live far from a library, but I do have digital access for ebooks and audiobooks, which is brilliant. A lovely article, Mike. Thanks for sharing 💕🙂
Thank you so much for everyone's comments on this, I really appreciate them