As part of celebrating National Libraries Day on Saturday 6th February I wanted to examine the relationship I’ve had with libraries throughout my life.
I must admit, I am guilty of not using my local library as much as I should but that hasn’t always been the case. When I was a child, my brother and I would take a trip to the library most Saturday mornings with our dad whilst my mum was working. I used to love the feeling of walking in and not knowing what different adventures and characters I would discover inside the pages of the books waiting for me. As my dad was an avid reader himself, he always encouraged me to take out as many books as I wanted; there were times I would take ten home with me as I just couldn’t decide which ones I wanted!
My love for reading and libraries continued as I got older when I decided to work at my secondary school library. It was here that I learnt about the Dewey Decimal System and that as a teenager, the library was not necessarily the ‘coolest’ place to be. It disheartened me to realise that not many of my peers had a passion for reading or books in general and only visited the library when their teachers forced them to.
When I was at university, the library played an essential part of my studies. Knowing the Dewey Decimal System definitely worked in my favour when I first started there; whilst my fellow students were stumbling around searching for a book, which the library only had six copies of, I was already there, book in hand, and leaving them to fight over the remaining copies. My lecturers always stressed that you couldn’t earn adegree without stepping into a library, no matter how vast the Internet is as a learning resource. My university’s library also gave my best friend and I a place of solace and calm where we could work on our latest assignments and have all the resources we needed only metres away.
I’ve always had a need for libraries throughout my life and they’ve even helped me gain a degree. Unfortunately due to the financial climate the UK faces at the moment, more and more libraries are having to shut their doors or are being moved to volunteer run centres. It would be a shame to think that the next generation of children might not have the same amount of resources or create the same kind of relationship with libraries as I have had in my life.
Although I haven’t been to my local library in many years, I can see what a vital resource libraries are to the local communities in Essex. They offer so much more than most people are aware of, such as eBooks, career advice, computing training and book groups. I hope that children in Essex grow up to have a positive relationship with libraries just as I have.
The post is part of a blog series celebrating National Libraries Day; please click here to discover more of our posts about National Libraries Day.