National Library Week is coming up in the U.S. April 11-17, and April is School Libraries Month (2010 is the 25th anniversary). This got me wondering about the state of libraries around the globe.
What's your earliest memory of a library? What was it like for you? Were you more likely to hang out in the gym or the library when you were in school?
How's the health of the library system in your community? How do you support your local library? How often do you check out books from the library vs. buying books? Tell us what your favorite library is like and include some photos if you can.
I LOVE libraries. Libraries are my happy place. My local library is very small but so incredibly important to me. It is attached to the grade school (K-9) and growing up I would hang out there during breaks. The librarians would keep our library cards behind the counter (it is the only library in the system) and I was the only kid in the school who didn’t have to tell the librarians my name and class. The librarians have changed since then but they are still incredibly nice and incredibly helpful. They have both bought books that I need for school and do Inter Library Loans for me with just an e-mail. My mum often goes in to pick up the books for me since she works near the library and now they know her too :D
The other library in my life is the University library at my grad school and they are equally helpful. They have a system set up where, as I am a distance student, they send books home to me from their catalogue or they e-mail me articles. The other week I had ordered a book from their catalogue and I got an e-mail to say that it was available to pick up. I called them up and asked that they send it to me in the mail (they had missed the note about me being a distance student) and it got put straight in the mail.
Several other libraries have been important in my life. My high school library was another safe haven. We spent an awful lot of time there working. It is located in the oldest building at the school and as you can see from the image above it is a beautiful room. One year the school administrators decided that us students should help clean up the school and the grounds. Me and my friends volunteered to do the library. We spent a whole day taking books off shelves and dusting them and putting the books back onto the shelves in the correct place. It was a great place.
The final library that was important to me is this ugly monstrosity:
This is the main library at the University of Edinburgh. I spent four years haunting the shelves in the Business Studies section, grabbing food in the cafeteria, surfing the web on the computers and just hanging out with friends. I knew the best times to use the photocopier. I knew the quiet spots and the people spotting spots. I loved my time here. It has changed since I was there, just as I left they started renovating it. Want to take a look? Go here.
The final question asks, what library is this?
It is the Library of Congress in Washington DC. I’ve actually been in that room. It is not open to the public but a friend of mine was doing a summer internship for a Congresswoman. My friend managed to talk our way into the main reading room. It was an amazing experience. The room is beautiful and I just wanted to sit down and do research. They were doing restoration work when we were there but it didn’t lessen the impact of the room. It is truly awe inspiring.