18 May 2013
Is your library like this?
I was browsing book-related channels on YouTube because I might start doing videos myself, and I ran across this one by Leena on the channel Just Kiss My Frog. I'm not sure if I agree fully with Leena's attitudes, but I had to share it. Basically, it is a rant about how her local library has turned into a community center instead of a place where you can find books. I've heard of libraries doing this to attract more patrons and justify their funding. With the advent of e-readers, many libraries have turned into way-stations where you can use the internet or find a meeting space for a club rather than actually having shelves and shelves of physical books.
To be honest, I haven't spent an extended amount of time in my local library branches in quite a while. We've developed a routine wherein I request whatever books the family wants online and my husband goes to pick them up on Tuesdays. Between my husband's work schedule and the reduced hours the library instituted a few years ago, finding time to browse shelves in the library is difficult. From what I can tell online, however, I don't think that our library system has decreased the amount of books available. They have managed to add newer genres like graphic novels without completely eliminating the classics.
One statement Leena made at the beginning of the video did ring true with me. She said that her local library used to seem like magic to her, and I remember having a similar feeling as a kid. Generally, I am a person who looks forward and believes that my kids have more advantages than I had, but this is one area where I think they are missing out. They haven't had the experience of roaming through the library and picking books at random. I discovered so many authors because I had the time to browse the shelves, pick a book, and then sit down and read a few pages before I took it home to see if it was to my liking. My kids just seem to read whatever I or their teachers recommend rather than browsing and discovering books for themselves. For them, a library that is more of a community center might be appealing.
QUESTION: Is your public library more of a home for books or a community meeting place?