5 Reasons to Love Your Library
We had an afternoon free today so looking for a way to get out of the house on a pretty miserable February afternoon, I decided we should go and visit our local library as it’s been a while. We live in a fairly rural community so our local library is pretty small by most standards; just a single medium sized room which is roughly the size of our ground floor but it’s welcoming and has a great childrens selection of books to explore.
Bear and I used to go regularly when she was younger as I am pleased to say that from a very young age she inherited my love of books and stories, therefore sitting and watching her rediscover the library made me a little sad that we haven’t used it in a while (I’m totally blaming Henry and the fact I’ve had a newborn to fit into the equation for the past 6 months!). This got me thinking; there are probably thousands of people who can’t even remember the last time they used their local library. Books are cheap and even more accessible than ever before which means that there’s little need right?
Well here are my top 5 reasons why I think you should get out and (re)discover your local library:
You get to read books. For free! I mean c’mon; what’s better than that for a book lover??? If you’re like me and can hit that Amazon 1 click buy over again to the point where even those 99p books start to add up, this is the most basic way for a house hold to save money. When I think of the money that I’ve spent on childrens books for the kids, this is an amazing way to keep the collection fresh and interesting for them. Which brings me on to point 2:
You can order what you like (with reason). Even for a tiny library like mine, they are all part of a bigger county network which means that if there is something specific you want to borrow, the liklihood is that they will be able to get hold of it for you. That latest release? That obscure book you read as a teenager? They will probably be able to track you down a copy.
If you have young children it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s wet and miserable and you just can’t face another softplay session but you have a toddler to entertain? Take them to the library and let them explore! I’ve never yet encountered a library does not welcome children and it’s a great way to spark an interest in books while they’re young and grow that imagination, even babies will enjoy the pictures and the colours. Get them their own library card and let them choose ones to go home with you. The Bear has had her own card since she was around 10 months old and now at 2 loves picking out her own books to take home by using her very own card (“Darcie’s card, not mummy’s card”).
It offers more than just books. The simple fact is that not every household can afford a computer or internet access, so for some people (11% of the UK population in 2016 according to the ONS) the library is literally a gateway to this world, for free. Also for some the library is one of the few places left in our communities which can become a central focal point in their lives. This afternoon while we were there I saw person after person come in to use the service, not just to borrow books but to chat and connect with other people. If you don’t have a strong support network around you, then these connections and interactions to other people can make all the difference.
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. The sad fact is that local councils don’t have infinate funds available to them and if services in the communities are not being used, then they will be cut. Already our little library is only open for a few hours 3 times a week and I wouldn’t even like to speculate how many services have been cancelled altogether. eBooks and online services have already (understandably) killed the hardcopy bookstore industry and although I love my Kindle for convience and ease, there is nothing like a hardcopy book in your hands. For me it would be a tragedy if we lost our local libraries but the only way to stop that happening is to start using them.
So let me reiterate…..it’s a free service which gives you access to unlimited books which can engage your children and spark their imagination. It provides an invaluable service to the community and it will not be here forever if you don’t use it. Oh….and most importantly (for me at least!) it can entertain your toddler for a few hours on a rainy day!! What more do you need eh?