Since moving to a new area I decided to start investigating our local library. The one in Brixton, where I lived a couple of house moves ago was beautiful; housed in an old, old building originally built by Tate & Lyle. Stretching over 3 floors it was stunning. However it seemed to have no books in it and was primarily taken over by computers. We could order books, but this had to be done in person and we were charged 50p per book (not a fortune, I realise, but still) and we were notified by a postcard, which we filled in.
What a difference at my new local library.
I can search, reserve and renew books online. This is great for when I read about a book on blogs, I can just go there straightaway and order. It is free to reserve books and I get notified by text message. How modern is that!
They have an Internet cafe as part of it and so there is still ample amounts of free Internet access, important in our town as (without seeing any statistics) I would say there is a very high proportion of unemployment and poverty.
So I get lots and lots of lovely free books, there has been very few books I have searched for which haven’t been available, which is superb. This is saying something considering my eclectic reading habits.
Although I am not a parent I can appreciate the lengths the library goes to to engage children. In the past there was an ‘invasion of Darleks’ event, which sounded so cool I was thinking of going down. Over summer there has been an ‘Adventure Seekers’ promotion with a list of books they recommend for different ages and some sort of sticker collection for books read and there is always a member of staff wandering around in a purple satin cloak (I assume this is connected)! There is lots of places for children to sit and read or interact with the surroundings and there is desks all around the upper floor for adults, including some comfy (ish) chairs near the daily papers and magazines.
There is also free Internet access courses for people, teaching them how to use the Internet. The foyer is used for community promotions – free energy efficient light bulbs, free blood testing for over 50’s, information pn the new recycling scheme about to be launched across the borough. The local theatre is also housed here, so there is lots of information about the local arts groups.
I am going to miss going into the library so often now that I am starting university TOMORROW! It has helped me move to a new community, given me an opportunity to talk to people who I wouldn’t normally encounter and gives me an excuse to walk or cycle into town. If you haven’t been to your library recently check it out!