These days some areas have a mobile library. Image:Marie Vonow
I have just read an email from my local library informing me that two books by a favourite author are waiting for me. I can’t wait until I can get to the library and pick them up.
Books and libraries have inspired and excited me since I was a child. At that time books were the only things on offer. I recall being a member of the Country Lending Service. Every month a librarian at the Adelaide Library would select books for me and wrap corrugated cardboard around them. Then she would wrap them in sturdy brown paper and secure it with string. My mother and I would collect the parcel from the local railway station parcel office. I would be so excited as I unwrapped my books.
I also loved the school library and borrowed regularly. We had to have a cloth bag for our borrowed books so they did not get damaged.
Now there are mobile libraries as well as traditional style building-based libraries. Libraries provide a wide variety of materials and services these days. There are newspapers and local history research materials to read in the library. There are all sorts of DVDs, CDs and CD ROMs. You can access online materials and use computers and the internet in the library. Authors and other speakers present sessions at many libraries. There are sessions for pre-schoolers and craft programs during the school holidays.
Some libraries provide coffee and water. Others have a café. Excess books are sold to raise funds to buy new materials. Additional services are being added all the time.
I love being able to go online and put a hold on materials I want to borrow. Being able to borrow from libraries all over the state is wonderful. I also appreciate being able to browse in other libraries, borrow materials with my One Card and then return them through any library in the state.
Books, magazines and other materials from the library inspire me. At times I will read a novel which encourages me to research the place or time in history in which the story was set. It is wonderful to be able to borrow material on a topic that is new to me and not have to worry about the waste of money if I discover it doesn’t interest me. I can also try out a different style of music and it doesn’t matter if I dislike it. It is good to try different things instead of limiting oneself to the familiar.
Although I find the internet a wonderful resource, I still like to hold a physical book or magazine. When I am in the main street I like to go into the local library to browse and I enjoy interaction with the librarians. I hope to continue doing this for many many years yet, just like the 90 year old woman I got talking to today as we both headed into the library.