Posted on | February 25, 2011 | 11 Comments
Oh goodness me! We’ve been zooming all over the place visiting libraries these past few days. I’ve been amazed to discover so many new-to-us libraries, how each one is different, how each has a different feel and vibe, even though many are in the same city.
Here are some photos from Library 8 in our Librarithon. We visited this library, and nos 9 and 10, on Tuesday.
I counted books in at least 15 different languages in this library! None in Dutch, but M gave one in an Arabic script (?perhaps Urdu) a go!
As in just about every library we’ve visited, before we knew it we were chatting to other families using the library. One young girl asked if M and J wanted to play with her and soon they were happily chatting and making friends. Next up the security guard wanted to join in! He was great – really friendly and encouraging and added to a sense that everyone is welcome in this library, it’s a safe place, a place where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger and for it to be perfectly alright. We need more places like this!
And here’s one more photo of Library 8 that I already posted on Twitpic: http://twitpic.com/42o6qy
One chocolate football, one slice of chocolate cake and one bannoffie pie eclair later we were at Library no. 9:
The staff at Library 9 seemed very excited to hear about our Librarithon! In every library we visit I give the staff on the counter a little flyer I’ve created about our Librarithon, what we’re doing and why, and then ask them if it is ok to take photos as long as the only identifiable people in them are my children. Some librarians have been nervous I’m going to ask them for sponsorship (which I don’t), but these librarians welcomed us with open arms, which was really heartening.
Finally for the day it was on to Library 10:
Initially our time here was quite depressing. One of the children’s librarians I know well from our local library (which is now closed, but which has redeployed its staff) talked to me at length about her fears for the library service in our city. I learned that the library budget isn’t part of Education or even Leisure – it comes under Housing!
Everywhere I go I’m hearing how librarians are living with a great deal of uncertainty. Nobody is telling them anything about their futures, though everyone seems sure that if there aren’t actual closures in this city, almost every library will have to reduce the number of hours it is open per week.
Fortunately my mood brightened when another Mum and I ended up in fits of giggles over something silly and too complicated to repeat here, though it did involve the idea of libraries lending out children as well as books. And then there was the lovely Satoshi Kitamura carpet – I’m putting it on my birthday wish list!
And one more photo on Twitpic: http://twitpic.com/42o8fx
On Wednesday we travelled into another county for Library 11.
For those of you concerned about how the kids are enjoying our Librarithon – just look at them skipping in the photo above!
M, J and I loved this sculpture just in the entrance to the library, all about the development of alphabets and writing. Having earlier in the day read about how a Maisy book has been challenged in a US library because it shows Maisy putting on her pants (in the context of her getting dressed) I did wonder if a sculpture like this could ever make it into a US library…
I loved the idea of “Books on Prescription”. These were actually all to do with health issues, but I thought the idea could easily be developed with a list of “ailments” and a corresponding list of books that would help, for example funny books to banish the blues.
This library also had a huge pile of puzzles. They weren’t for loan, but rather available for users to set up and come back to over whatever time they liked. I loved the idea of people coming in to the library for a little bit of quiet time, but with people nearby, and being able to come back day after day.
By chance we were able to sneake in an extra library on Wednesday, our twelfth library so far.
Unfortunately this library was the only one so far where we were refused permission to take photos inside the library
I hope you get a sense from these photos how much fun we’re having, and how we’re pulling out all the stops to visit libraries, support them and raise money for Book Aid International. We’re doing our bit – could you do something for us and sponsor us just £2? This is enough for Book Aid International to get a book to where it’s needed. And, even though I’ve said it before, it’s worth repeating – that book might be the one that changes someone’s life.
Don’t forget, if you can’t sponsor us but would still like to help Book Aid International then pay a visit 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. You’ll also stand a chance of winning one of Tidy Books’ bookcases for yourselves (and they’re gorgeous, I can tell you!). So go on, hop over there and leave a comment! What’s stopping you?