At first I thought it was lovely because I was alone, sans children, for only the second time in 4 months. The first time being when I went for a CT scan, an altogether less pleasant experience. But it wasn’t the lack of children that made it lovely (although that probably helped).
Then I thought it was because of the peace and quiet. No screaming toddler having a paddy because I won’t let him eat 6 thousand starbursts in a row; no hysterical baby full of trapped wind; no demanding husband wanting to know where his shoes are. But it wasn’t that either.
It wasn’t until I was leaving that I realised that it was the mixture of people in that place, all engrossed in their own individual activities, that had made the atmosphere so lovely.
In the corner was an older gentleman, around mid-70’s, using one of the fairly ancient PC’s to look for package holidays. He was meticulously scribbling down the details of each one that fit his criteria and beaming as he did it. (I don’t think he knew he could print the pages for the bargain price of 5p per sheet.) Next to me was a scruffy, hippy type bloke, about 25. He was designing a poster for some sort of Christmas event and kept popping up to the counter to ask the opinions of the Middle-aged librarians, who were loving the attention and trying to out-flirt each other with him.
Dotted about the library were all kinds of people choosing books, reading newspapers, writing, researching, immersing themselves in whatever it was they were doing.
As I left it made me sad that my local library most likely won’t be around when my children are old enough to enjoy it. And not only that; the motley crew who were in there today won’t have that sanctuary to go to anymore. I found it almost comical that the elderly man was searching for package holidays in a library, but what if that was his only access to the internet? And what if the Scruffy Hippy relies on that place to design his flyers?
When cuts are made it’s always the most vulnerable in society that suffer but I have to be honest, the library is under-used. It was around midday and there was a maximum of 8 people in there, including me. The sweet little children’s section was totally empty. It’s no surprise that it’ll probably face the chop soon.
My 2 year old is already a member of the library, although he’s too boisterous to show much interest in books so far. But regardless, I’m going to start taking him to the library at least once a week to encourage him to see reading as something fun to do. It’s not much but it’s the only thing I can do right now to increase the footfall at the library and maybe help it hang around for a bit longer.
Lately I read more blogs than books and that has to change too. As convenient as a Kindle is, I still love the feel and smell of a proper book; its high time I got stuck back into some good novels. Any recommendations?
Side Note: when I got home the husband hadn’t been able to find his shoes, the baby was hysterically crying and full of wind and the 2 year old had demolished six thousand Starburst. At least.