Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sharing the Library Love

Libraries definitely feature high up on my all-time list of favourite things!

Libraries don't come much prettier than this!
Saffron Walden Library ticks all the boxes
 - books and architecture and a even a weather vane -
As a child, we would go the local library every week.  I'd pile my arms with as many books as I was allowed. I loved the thick plastic covers and the stick-in sheets at the front, stamped with the date for every previous loan.  I'd be bursting with impatience all the way home, dying to dive into my new haul. Sometimes I would even cave in and start reading in the car, even though it made me hopelessly car sick.

As a student I loved the grand old libraries of Oxford University. I would spread out my notebooks and pens on a polished wood and leather desk, the light from the reading lamp a cosy pool of brightness on dark winters' afternoon and select the huge fat bound volume of the learned journals on my reading list (Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, perhaps, or Mind and Language) and settle in. If I had to climb a wooden ladder to reach the top shelf or request my journal to be brought up from the stacks, so much the better. My concentration may have drifted off after half an hour, but you couldn't fail feel to that your brain was expanding in those surroundings.

Families taking part in the Children's Literature Quiz at Milton Rd Library
I was very easily bribed into helping with the answers - all it took was a friendly smile!
Now I often set up in the library for the day to write, rather than to read, a book.  Every now and then I need a change of scene from my home desk. Central Library in Cambridge is a great place to work, It's light and bright and friendly and all around there is the buzz of shared learning and discovery.  I also like to venture out to the smaller town and village libraries - there is something so delicious about being able to wander in to a new library and settle down at a desk surrounded by books. You can stay all day and you don't even have to buy anything!

I've been delighted to be invited to take part in two events at libraries in Cambridge this month. The first a meeting of the Youth Libraries Group, a wonderful chance to meet and discuss with librarians the issue of keeping children reading over the summer (the libraries Summer Reading Challenge provides a great focus for this)


Why not sign up for the summer reading challenge this summer
Find out all about it at their website here

And then to an event at Milton Rd Library in Cambridge, organised by the Friends of the Library. Children from the nearby school and their families were invited to a drop-in event with lots of activities (and refreshments on another of this month's miraculously scorching days) and to talk about their ideas for the way they'd like to see their library used in future. Like so many small local libraries, its opening hours have been reduced and closure is always a threat, but it is a wonderful community resource, and it is great to see the community ad library services joining forces to fight for it to survive - and thrive and evolve - into the future.

Thank you to everyone who organised these events and to everyone who came along.
Emily investigating Mrs Loveday in Castle Key Library
in The Mystery of the Whistling Caves
Find out how Jack is getting on with the Summer Reading Challenge on his blog





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