National Library Week is coming up in the U.S. April 11-17, and April is School Libraries Month (2010 is the 25th anniversary). This got me wondering about the state of libraries around the globe.
What's your earliest memory of a library? What was it like for you? Were you more likely to hang out in the gym or the library when you were in school?
How's the health of the library system in your community? How do you support your local library? How often do you check out books from the library vs. buying books? Tell us what your favorite library is like and include some photos if you can.
Because my mom has always liked to read (and because I was homeschooled), libraries have always played a major part in my life. I remember going to the big downtown library as a young child and losing myself in the books. Cam Jansen, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, The Babysitters' Club, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie...so many stories that held me spellbound for years. When I was about 15, I discovered Jane Eyre (my favorite book ever), but I didn't own a copy, so every time we went to the library, I would head straight for the shelf where it was kept and spend the majority of the trip re-reading my favorite parts. Then one day I went in and some horrible person had checked it out! Needless to say I got my own copy soon after.
Today, my local library is smaller than the one from my early childhood, but it is still a pleasant place to go. I know most of the librarians on a first name basis and all of them are so helpful. They can get just about any book I want an inter-library loan (a great tool for those of you who haven't ever used it), they will sometimes order books that they can't get (they recently bought Wide Sargasso Sea because I requested it and they couldn't get it anywhere else), and sometimes they have even dropped books off by my house if one of them happened to be passing by.
I know that many people say that libraries, like the book, are going out of style. I however, believe that they will stay relevant for years to come. They will continue to adapt to meet the needs of society. My library has doubled its computers, added free wi-fi, and begun offering e-books all within the past few years. Honestly, where else in the world can the average person get all of history's information and ideas at their fingertips for free?
In celebration of our nation's libraries, here is an episode of the PBS show Arthur. Arthur and his friends have gotten together to make three music videos, two of which are library/book related (the other one is food related, but it is fun too!). I hope that you enjoy them, and remember "Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!"