Guest Post: My library card changed my life

Today’s guest post is by Alison and is a topic really close to my heart- if it hadn’t been for my local library when I was on maternity leave (and suffering bad depression), I would have never left the house. Read and enjoy!

When I was little, I thought my library card was the best thing in the world. It was something I was allowed to look after for myself, I discovered Judy Blume, Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Shirley Hughes, Enid Blyton and Jill Murphy, stories of Enchanted Forests, Schools for Witches and cities full of Skyscrapers and to top it all off I could take them all home. Behind every cover was a world I had yet to discover. The library was also frequented by lots of different people, children would come after school to pick up their new books and spend time with new friends (both real and imaginary) and older people would come to read the newspapers and enjoy the atmosphere.

As I got older, the library started to mean different things to me. It was where I could go to use the internet when I didn’t have a connection in my shared house, where I could hire out DVDs and Music and where I could borrow books when I couldn’t afford to buy them due to living on a budget. The library also provided Stephanie with a place she could get new books when she was on her Book Buying ban. It also helps you get out of your comfort zone with books and authors as the selection varies from library to library.
I love reading and have acquired quite a lot of books in my 28 years so much so, a friend called me, ‘Matilda’ when he helped me move house! The library allowed Matilda to esc ape in to stories. Without it she would simply have been lost. “Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world, like ships onto the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message, ‘You are not alone.”# Matilda may have only been a story itself but it highlights the simple message. Libraries are needed to help people. They give elderly people a place to go, they give support to local communities through learning and resources and they give direction and knowledge to those who are looking for a path.

Image: Roalddahl.wikia.com

Image: Roalddahl.wikia.com

My friend Rosie is a librarian (or the more complex, LRC Digital Facilitator) for Middlesbrough College. She highlighted that investment needs to be key, ‘how are you going to draw people in if your libraries don’t have Wi-Fi but your nearest Wetherspoons and McDonalds do?’
Yes, we are moving into a world where books are being replaced with digital files but surely, we should keep these environments within our communities to embrace people and their love of reading. Councils across the country are making cuts and libraries stand directly in the firing line as a non-essential service. The author, Caitlin Moran, credits her local library in Wolverhampton with schooling her when she was Home Schooled. I think she puts it in the best way; it is not just one door closing with the closure of a library but ‘a trillion small doors closing.’#
The title of this post is a phrase that appears on my friend Rosie’s Library Card from Stockton libraries. She posted a Library Card Selfie of herself on Facebook to highlight the @WeNeedLibraries song video which is collected these images.
For more about their campaign to save as many libraries in the UK as they can: https://twitter.com/WeNeedLibraries
Also, check out Voices for the Library, a useful site for library lovers; http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk
Post a selfie, read a book or simply just go and love your local library!

 

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