Librarithon update #2

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Stop no. 3 on our Librarithon raising money for Book Aid International was a tiny library which only opens 15 hours a week. I hadn’t been expecting much, and spirits were definitely not high, having trekked through pouring rain to get to it, but when we arrived things immediately looked brighter – this library has a cafe!

A cup of tea and various cakes and biscuits later we were all suddenly in a much better mood for reading, playing and exploring the shelves.

Despite being small and open very restricted hours, this library seemed to be thriving. It runs 3 different book clubs, not just for adults but also for teenagers and 8-11 year olds. There are also special sessions for retired people and toddlers so there is something for just about everyone in the community it serves.

Our 4th library took us into a different county, two train rides away. I chose this library because it is the only one I could find open on a Sunday. When we arrived we were amazed to see people queueing to get get in! That tells you something about how important this library is to the people who use it.

Thanks to her dad, M is currently fascinated by Greek mythology so most of our time in this library was spent looking in this Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, although we also read Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure!

On Monday we ramped things up a little and set ourselves a goal of visiting 3 different libraries in one day. First off, we actually visited a building site!

What the cranes were swinging into place were pieces of the new Library of Birmingham which will open its doors in 2013. I’m not sure what I think about this library – there’s some concern that books are not the focus in this new library, that the design is too concerned with providing places for people to meet. But maybe a library of the 21st century has to embrace much more than “simply” books? The Guardian has an interesting article about the future of libraries, including the Library of Birmingham, here.

You can see another photo of our visit here on Twitpic.

The sixth stop on our Librarithon was tough going if I’m honest. Libraries are excellent at hosting all sorts of events, especially for children during holidays, but when we turned up at Library 6 it was just so very busy that I was a bit overwhelmed. M was delighted though as we bumped into her favourite dinner lady from school!

The entrance to the children’s section looked very exciting:

Inside was packed, noisy and lively. However we soon retired to somewhere a little quieter up on another floor.

Having also packed in a trip to an aquarium and the ancient civilizations galleries in the city museum we finally made it to our third library of the day, and the half way point in our Librarithon, with stop no. 7 – our “home” library.

Amongst the many books we read on this visit, I discovered a David McKee book I did not like – Denver. In fact it brought out any latent communist tendencies I might have as it seemed to be all about accepting one’s lot in life, and the validity of a feudal system. This is not the David McKee book I’ll be giving to J for her birthday!

So you can see, we’re making progress with our Librarithon! We’re having fun, discovering lots of new books and realising the huge importance of great planning and a plentiful supply of chocolate cake in keeping things running smoothly!

YOU can still sponsor us! Please do consider sponsoring our efforts – don’t feel awkward if all you can manage is £2 – this is enough for Book Aid International to get a book to where it’s needed. And who knows, that book might be the one that changes someone’s life.

And talking of life-changing books, if you really can’t sponsor us but would still like to help Book Aid International then head on over to Tidy Books’ Facebook page and tell them what book changed your life. For every 4 nominations, Tidy Books will donate a book to Book Aid International. Easy for you, generous of Tidy Books, and great for Book Aid International – everyone is a winner!

6 Responses

  1. Tasha

    Wow! You guys are doing so well! And cafes and chocolate cake definitely help any trip out with a child in my experience. I have to say that all the libraries you’ve visited (apart from perhaps the mobile library) look huge in comparison to our little, local one – what a lovely choice of books and yay for Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs – really love those books 🙂

    • Zoe

      Hi Tasha,
      Yes, some of the libraries we’ve visited have been huge, but the one we went to on Saturday was tiny – a room maybe 6 metres by 6 metres in total or thereabouts. It’s really fun seeing how different libraries are, and feeling the different sorts of vibes each library has. J found the Captain Flinn book a little scary, but M adored it!

    • Zoe

      Hi Choxbox, never went to Swiss Cottage library that I recall (may have been taken there when I was young – shall have to ask my mum), but I do remember being quite amazed by the swiss cottage (pub) itself – as a kid it looked to me very fairytale like!

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