Monday, April 18, 2005


Local Library

I decided that for my artist date I would do something I used to love doing as a kid. Walk through the library. This was one of my favourite places when I was little. I loved everything about it. The smell, the quiet and most of all being surrounded by so many books. My mum used to take us all the time. I remember sitting at one of the tables reading books while my mum would be looking around on the adults side. If she found what she wanted fairly quickly we would make her sit down and we would take books to her that we had found. Or she would help us chose. Occasionally my dad would come home from work and if it was a nice day he would suggest a family walk up to the library. There was always something different about going in the evening. Something different in the atmosphere. Or maybe it just seemed different because we were all there. In those times we would occasionally run across to the adult side to find which section my mum or dad was at or to have them look at a book we were thinking of borrowing. In those visits my sister and I usually finished first. We would again go across to the adults side and sit in the big seats while we waited. Those memories are definitely some of my favourites.

As I got older my love of the library didn't grow any less. I would usually walk up myself or with friends and occasionally with my mum. The time I spent on the kiddies side grew less and less. I borrowed mostly teen books and then moved away from those eventually. I would spend time studying there too if I wanted some quiet. As I got further into high school my visits to the library decreased. I would get more books for birthdays and Christmas. My parents would by me books to encourage me to keep going. Finally I started working and bought all of my books. I hadn't been to the library in a couple of years. At university I was more likely to visit the campus library and so I can't even remember when I last went to our local one.

With all these images in my head I went to the local library expecting to spend an hour or so there. I guess my expectations were far too high because what I saw disappointed me quite a bit. It had changed so much. The children's section had been turned into a computer area. The children now shared the same side as the adults. I took a walk through the fiction section and half the shelves were empty and all of the books had seen better days. They didn't even have a new fiction section anymore. The non fiction section was also greatly reduced and all mixed up. I stayed about ten minutes and then left. I couldn't even bring myself to look through the kids books.

I wonder how it ended up like that. Have they spent so much trying to bring themselves up to date with all those new computers that they have no choice but to let the books suffer? Or is it purely because of budget cuts? Or even because of people like myself who used to visit regularly but now only visit book shops? Whatever the reason it will be a long time before I can bring myself to go back.

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