I’ve been meaning to write about my local library ever since I started this blog but there are so many books I’d been reading and not reviewing that writing about anything else than book’s reviews was beyond my capacity. But I always state that I do not buy many books at least not physical ones due to my minimalist lifestyle and nomad principles but that doesn’t stop me from reading also physical books a lot. Since I don’t have many people around me who read books and can lend me some, the only place I can get books is a library but I don’t complain.
I have been using library all my life, as a child, I used to belong to all libraries around and although in that time (Poland, back in 80 s communism time – I know some of you might not know what I am talking about) libraries weren’t the friendliest places in the world, in fact, they were scary with strict librarians who seemed like loathed all the kids asking for books to read. There was not allowed loitering around books shelves and all kids, although that required kind of bravery to even visit a library, were shush before they even dared to ask for the book. Until now I can’t imagine how determined I needed to be to have the temerity for disturbing a very busy librarian in their job and dared to ask him something. Anyway, my obstinacy was stronger than a scary librarian’s obstacle and my hunger for reading stronger than awe and because of many books I asked for, the librarians needed to use a paper cataloque placed in small drawers which until today makes me want to work in the library and being able to leaf through them as a part of my job. To this day I dream to own a library vintage drawer and I often wonder if any of my dreams will ever come true.
Since my circumstances required changing places quite a lot, I tend to not buy books as I said but I always look for a public library as a very first thing after moving to the new place. I was lucky to live in the neighbourhood of the very small but surely the best library in London where I met people who became my best friends for life. I used to spend at that library lots of time, my kids were welcomed by their names and there were librarians who always had a time for a chummy chat.
Visiting this cosy library with friendliest people on earth was, without doubt, my highlight of time when I was a new mother and quite often didn’t have around me an adult to talk to for days. There were people who smiled to me, express their empathy for my sleepless nights and other motherhood struggles and it was a place where I could in a way escape my little reality of daily routine. That public library time back in London is also a perfect example of huge change and flexibility a public library went through in the last decades. From the place for stricte borrowing books to the space for being able to meet friends, chat, be inspired to and merely having a good time place.
By living in Norway, I was able to get to know yet another way of experiencing a public library and as an avid reader, I was positively surprised that there are available many books in English too, in fact, there are more than I could expect due to Norwegian system of join libraries in the whole country but this is a story for another post.
I love my local library for many reasons but as a reader and as a person who reads a lot and has kids who read even more than me it simply saves me a fortune! I love visiting the library and having the chance of picking books I would normally not choose to read or for simply a prospect of looking for books I would not buy but still wanted very much reading them. It saves me a lot of money and stress of taking home the book which didn’t live up to the hype as I can simply return it without much pain at least in my wallet. I use the library a lot purely for the pleasure of being surrounded by books and I do appreciate the freedom of being able to browse any shelf in the library remembering my dreading childhood library experience. I love that libraries became digitalize and I can search through a catalogue of almost all the books available in the country, I can order them online and monitor the waiting time on the library website or an app and all the services are free of charge. The library is accessible and gives a chance for many people who don’t fancy reading to pick up a book and start reading or for avid readers to read even more and don’t break a bank.