This week I spent a morning sitting in a comfy lounge chair at my local library. Occasionally I would look up from the book I was reading and watch the steady stream of people going in and out through the front doors. It was a weekday morning, so it was mostly seniors and toddlers with their caregivers. Librarians were helping patrons, and there was a quiet but friendly buzz in the building. I said a quiet ‘thank you’ to my mom who turned me into a library user all those years ago. Is there a better institution in our communities? I don’t think so. All those books, free!
Every week when we were young Mom took us to the local library and we could take out as many books as we wanted. I loved those outings, and was the kind of kid who enjoyed rainy days, lounging in bed, reading, getting lost in those fictional worlds. I didn’t need much else to keep me happy. In those days libraries were quiet places, used for research. Now that many people choose to research on-line (not me, I like books) I thought that libraries may have become ghost-towns. Not so. While the daytime is busy with seniors and toddlers, evenings see the college crowd, studying in a place with less distractions than at home. They also serve as community hubs, where notices of upcoming events can be make public.
The great thing about libraries is they have kept up with the times. Now they offer e-books, e-magazines, even e-comics. I like to do my reading in book form, but Hoopla is popular with my book club friends. I have borrowed many DVD’s and CD’s over the years. My favourite part of today’s library is the on-line catalogue. From the comfort of my own home I can browse their catalogue and choose the books I want to read. I simply place a hold and a few days later my book is waiting for me at my local branch. If my book choice is disappointing, I simply return it. It didn’t cost me anything.
Thank you Mom, and I hope that libraries are still around for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to enjoy.