Do any of you visit the library anymore? I confess I don’t go often. Why not? The accessibility of online book ordering, plus the fortunate circumstance of disposable income. I have, for a while now, been able to afford to buy books – digital or ‘real’. Plus, I’ve lived in a village without a library for the last ten years, which means I have to drive there.
How different from my childhood. Our local library was a five minute walk away. I was there ALL THE TIME. My mum was (is) an avid reader and visited at least weekly, and I went with her, as far back as I can remember. While she chose her adult books, I browsed the children’s section. My library introduced me to many of my favourite books: The Moomins, The Famous Five, The Hobbit…and eventually, to The Dark Is Rising and what would become my favourite type of book, to this day. Legends, witches, magic – everything I read and write about now. 😉
I know fellow writers who use the library to work in, as it gets them away from the disturbances of everyday life. I’m fortunate in that, if I can make the cats go away, I have peace and quiet in my little office/reading room/den. (I currently do have a cat here, but he’s asleep. I can blank out the snores). With the advent of the internet, I don’t need to go to the library to do research – I have everything I need at my Googling fingertips.
This isn’t a comment piece on the decline of libraries, but just looking over what I’ve written, I can see why it’s happening. It does make me sad. Maybe that’s just nostalgia? Anyway, a few weeks ago I resolved to visit my library. I had a long gap between giving driving lessons, but decided not to go home and veg on the couch. Instead, I went to the library, and did some people watching, and writing. It was useful, and fun! I made some notes on what I observed. They turned into a little poem, which I have included below.
In the library
The urge to tell people to stop talking…
Especially all those old people pretending to use the computers
But just really having a blether out of the rain.
A young man on his phone. Naughty!
Drip, drip, drip of rain from the leaky roof.
The lady muttering at the computer screen.
The wean crying in the kiddie section.
The window cleaner’s squeegee knocking on the glass.
Beeps and squeals from the computer system.
The librarian filing books back onto the shelves. Yes, real books!
Me wondering if I should learn to type properly.
Voices in the background discussing books.
People glimpsed through shelves – what are they choosing?
Lots to inspire me.
It’s a good place to write.
But now I’m getting hungry.
Time to go home and get some lunch.
No eating in the library, remember!
wean: a child or baby
blether: idle or foolish and irrelevant talk