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Tuesday, 28 July 2009


Maybe I've been too affluent in recent years, well at least until this credit crunch reared its head. In the past whenever I've wanted a book I've gone out and bought one - it's scary to think how much I've spent on books in say the last ten years. But frugal times are here and so I decided to get myself a library card. I haven't visited the local library in years and years. And so I went in and asked to renew my card - I was dismayed to find I had outstanding fines of £16.90 but, I can't really complain, since they were for a book returned very late in 1987. Maybe I was skint at the time.

Anyway I paid the fine and became the proud owner of a new library card.

These days the library is more than a collection of books - they offer Internet access, CD's, DVD'S, they have a newspaper and magazine room and of course rows and rows of books. I was pleased to see they stocked The Tarnished Star, as well as loads and loads from my good friends in the Black Horse Range, and I talked the librarian into supporting the next Wild West Monday, 2nd November, by having a local author (me) along to give a chat on the importance of escapist fiction and specifically the western.

I ain't going to let my library card lapse again - I'll buy just as many books as ever - books are my passion, well books and donuts - but it's great to visit the library, to walk among rows and rows of books. If you listen carefully you can hear the books talking to you, enticing you with the delights that lay hidden between the boards.

Yep, the library has certainly improved since my last visit. The service is superb and the head librarian's a decent looking bird with a nice smile - years ago it was this fierce looking woman with a wart on her nose and a permanent scowl on her face. These days the library even has a coffee shop in the back that sells these locally made donuts.

The books, of course, are the main thing and always will be but it's nice to see, in these days of local authority cut backs, that the library is not only thriving but a cool place to hang out and be, "Shhhshed" by a temptress among the tomes.

How about it folks? Let's all make an effort to join the local library - even if we only use it on rare occasions it's nice to show your support and carry a valid library card. It's free, being paid for by your taxes, and it's the best way to try out new authors. And even if the head librarian at your local's got a wart on the snout and looks as if she may have had a house dropped on her in a classic family film, there are always the books.


Richard Prosch said...

I love my local library. One of the best services they have is the book request. If a new book comes out and they don't have it...all I have to do is request it and most often it will be there within a week. My only complaint is with the flimsy crap plastic dust covers they put over some books --w/usually no reasoning as to which books get the treatment. I can't read a book with those crinkling, often grimey-sticky covers.

Scott D. Parker said...

Here in Houston, I have access to the city library as well as the county library. The media request is fantastic and I love going to pick up a stack of things I've put on hold. It's like Christmas. I've been using the libraries extensively for years but I've noticed a marked uptick in the crowds. Guess you're not alone. BTW, the librarians I talk with look nothing like the gal you posted. :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm old fashioned enough to prefer libraries without coffee shops in them. Just lots and lots of books.

Laurie Powers said...

For several years I didn't go to my local library - it was terrible, part of the City of Los Angeles system, so what does that tell you. Basically a place with very few books and where homeless people go to have a place to stay. So I got into the bad habit of buying all my books on Amazon. Now I'm close to a decent library - now if only I could figure out their newfangled computer system...BTW, some cute librarians are of the male persuasion.

G. B. Miller said...

I absolutely love my local library. Darn thing has been my home away from home since my age was in single digits.

Homey, charming, yet pleasantly up to date....without the coffee shop (which was whacked by Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts).

BTW: I fixed myself on FB.

Unknown said...

It's good to read that libraries around the world are well patronised and keeping up with the times. All the more silly, I feel, that some would ask us to believe that libraries and librarians conform to old, virtually comic-book stereotypes, looking to ban this or that book for spurious reasons. In my experience that would be a very rare occurrence.

In recent times, I know of only one respected Black Horse Western writer who had a new book withdrawn for censorship reasons. And no it wasn't myself! The writer told me: "Here's one for you. A copy of Xxxxxxxxxx turned up secondhand. Ex-library and never read. Contacted the seller who told me that it had been rejected because it referred to a son beating up his own father. He beat him up because he was sick and tired of taking a beating for something that his brother had done. Obviously, a librarian who does not live in the real world."

I like the look of the librarians who live in your world, Gary!

Barbara Martin said...

I visit my local library when I need to do extra research for my manuscripts that isn't on the web.

Also I give the books publishers supply me for reviews to the library as their purchasing budget had been slashed due to economic times.