I saw this over at A Mad Hatted Reader’s blog who saw it at Book Stacks Amber. I shouldn’t have to say it, but for those who don’t know, libraries are my thing. And as this week (5th to 10th October 2020) is Libraries Week in the UK it seems a fitting choice of tag for today.
How often do you visit your local library?
Every day, pretty much. We work every other Saturday and on Sundays to a rota, so my weekend is usually a Monday.
Before she passed away and we moved house, I used to visit our little village library with my Nana every Tuesday (which used to be my day off back then), and before Mom passed away it would be the three of us. At uni I was in the library every day because it was the only really familiar place where I knew the rules and didn’t feel out of my depth. Before that, as a teenager I went to the library every Saturday, and before that, while still at school, I used to also pop in on their late evening on my way home from the train station.
I like libraries.
Are you the type of person who checks out more books than you know you can read or are you someone who only checks out the exact number of books you intend to read before they are due back?
I used to only check out what I could read because of the late fees. Unfortunately, I have dark and mysterious powers over fines now, so I tend to borrow far more than I can possibly read. And lockdown has just made this tendency worse. Now I am panic-borrowing books in fear that that will happen again, despite not having yet read everything I took out back in March. It’s like some sort of compulsion.
How old were you when you got your first library card?
My first memory of being in the library is from when I was six years old, and I already had a library card then because I remember that Mom was getting my brother one. I don’t know when Mom signed me up though, and I can’t exactly ask her, so …
Do you go to your library looking for a particular book or do you check out anything that piques your interest?
I have only rarely gone with a particular book in mind. I might have a subject I want to find out about, but usually I’ll just browse and pick up whatever looks interesting.
Do you use your library to check out just books or do you also check out DVDs, audiobooks etc?
I used to borrow CDs and DVDs when our library supplied them, but some serious budget cuts put a stop to that a long while ago now. I borrow audiobooks, sometimes physically, more often via the Libby app.
From what section in your library do you check out the majority of your books?
I borrow most stuff from the SFF section, History and Cookery. But I range all over – the only section I’ve never borrowed anything from is the Transport section.
What is your favourite part of using your local library?
As a customer, it was always having this great store of books from which I could borrow without censure or cost. I could find out anything I wanted. I could spend time with the books first, I could sit down with them, try out a chapter or two, go through the index. I loved the library for the space it gave me, not silent, but calm.
As an employee, I love the bookish conversations I get into with random folks, and I hope that we give them what libraries gave me. This town library is a very different beast from my little village library back home, and computers play a massive role in our everyday in a way they didn’t when I was a kid, but I still think the heart of what we do is provide space in a world that seems to have very little.
What do you think about libraries in general?
After not being able to do the work I care about most throughout April and May because of COVID-19 I am more than ever curious to know what, if any, place people feel libraries hold in our society. While I hold an unwavering belief in the importance of information being freely available to everyone, I am also aware that the internet is changing how we access that information. One of the discussions I have most regularly with customers is about digital illiteracy and the way in which that is dividing up society along new lines. I hope libraries will always be a thing, but I think we are going to look very different in the future.
In more general terms, I think libraries are ace. Everyone should be a member. It’s the best club in the world!