Libraries. Old Fashioned?

I was walking out of my local library the other day, my arms filled with books, when I ran into a friend who glanced at me and said, “Getting books from the library? How old fashioned!”

I was horrified.

I felt about a hundred years old.

An enraged hundred-year-old.

Old fashioned? OLD FASHIONED?

My local library is so hip and happening it tweets!

There’s a cafe on the second floor. An art gallery. Baby buggies parked outside the large sunlit children’s section. Comy sofas around a coffee table strewn with newspapers and magazines. Job seekers tapping away at the line of computers on the mezzanine. A choice of cd’s, dvd’s and blue tooth (which is so new I don’t even know what it is). There are book clubs, art classes, film nights.

And oh, yes, books. Remember books? Those funny things with covers and whole galaxies inside?

I have been bringing my children to the library since before they could walk, let alone read. They are now voracious readers. Mary, the children’s librarian, ushered my kids from soft padded picture books to supplying their addictions to Harry Potter, Phillip Pullman and Rick Riordan. She also ran author talks and a book group.

Old Fashioned?

I save hundreds of pounds, dollars, you name it, by borrowing, not buying, our books. (I know, I know, as an author, touting the fact that I don’t have to buy books is a bit…strange.)

I love the community. Some are actually under 50. The staff are incredibly with it, especially that patient and, may I say really cute, Irish guy who is always helpful. The homeless man who snoozes back by the large print section, his plastic bags stacked around him. The teenagers facebooking at the line of computers set up just for them.

Old fashioned? OLD FASHIONED?

To my mind libraries are the last bastion of civilization. The burning embers of culture. And when they go…I plan on hitching a ride to Mars and starting an old fashioned book club and showing Martians where they can find the Graham Greenes.

Graham who?

Old fashioned.

I am so annoyed I’m going to need my smelling salts.

(If you are a UK resident please join Alan Gibbon’s Campaign for the Book to stop the powers that be who are trying to cut library funding. Thank you.)

picture by libraryman (flickr)

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Libraries. Old Fashioned?

  1. I agree! My local library in Amherst, Massachusetts is also “hip!”

  2. Tell it, sister!

    Old fashioned . . . Yes, because literacy is so over. Sheesh.

    Might I ask what your friend’s idea of cutting edge might be? because my library offers PlayAways and e-books, too.

  3. grrr! pass those smelling salts over!

  4. Vee gohil

    I absolutely agree, couldn’t have put it any better.xx

  5. hah…I know that library! And heading there later…

  6. Yay Nina! I’m glad you’re out there and your galaxies are in my library!

  7. ninakillham

    Thanks everyone for your comments. I think we should organize a Libraries are Ba-ad party. Or is that so last decade? What’s the word for cool now?

  8. Buggering freezing.

    What an amazing sounding library. The one in Swiss Cottage is similarly glorious.

  9. Pingback: Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, John Penrose MP and Ed Vaizey MP | KMLockwood

  10. Pingback: Why you should care about libraries. « V. Kathryn Evans

  11. My local library was able to provide me with loads of helpful books, advice, information about trends, suggested reading – both in print and online – all relevant to my ultra hip and new Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing and New Media.

  12. 246 libraries and 17 mobile libraries are currently under threat in the UK. Full list (it’s a long one) and map at http://publiclibrariesnews.blogspot.com/.

    Let me know if you know of any cuts not on the list. Thanks for campaigning for the book.

  13. Hello Nina. You may be interested in this national campaign I’m involved with. http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk It’s aim is to defend the value of public libraries in the UK. A few of the campaign members are also involved in local campaigns to halt cuts in their local areas too.

  14. Pingback: ‘A gateway to everything’ – authors fighting for libraries | Voices for the Library

  15. In this modern age, with access for all, free internet, coffee, snacks, advice, culture, book clubs, discussion groups, newspaper archives, local history, printing, photocopying, etc., etc., there is something touchingly old-fashioned about libraries, i.e. they’re still where winos go to sleep.

  16. ninakillham

    Hear, hear!

  17. Pingback: Public Libraries – The Challenge to Survive « CAC de/of BC

  18. Pingback: Bibliothèques publiques – Le défi de survivre « CAC de/of BC

  19. Pingback: ‘A gateway to everything’ – authors fighting for libraries | Voices for the Library

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