On 6th March 2014 was World Book Day 2014. Schools here in the UK were celebrating this event by asking pupils to dress up in their favourite book characters.
Jean and I love reading and buying books or borrowing books from our local library, Childs Hill Library, N.W. London. I have used this small and charming library since my childhood, for about 50 years now. I have seen many changes. The library building used to belong to our local church All Saints, then it was sold to Barnet Borough Council in the 1950s, who converted it into library. After reading comics I remember reading my first book at age of 11. It was a sci-fi book called ‘Terror By Satellite’ I then enjoyed borrowing & reading John Wyndham sci-fi novels from the library in my early teen years.
For many years the library had solid dark wooden shelves divided in to subject sections. There was a kindly elderly & eccentric librarian called Frank, who loved books and would indeed talk to them as he replaced books on the shelves. He was probably the last qualified & experienced librarian we had. His nice library assistant Olga took over running the library after Frank retired. Olga and her assistant Min were friendly and we knew them well.
About 10 years ago, the library was extensively refurbished and redecorated. It became more open plan, lighter and airier inside.
With the economic woes that came to the UK etc., Childs Hill Library has been lucky to escape closure which happened to many libraries. It is popular and local campaigns kept it open and the library became a base for the borough mobile library service.
With the cut back in staff, permanent library assistants are now rare, with assistants rotating between borough libraries. Libraries now also have volunteer unpaid staff to keep a library open. So we see different staff when we visit. Also libraries are becoming self-service, there are machines which we use to scan out books with our tickets and scan in again when we return a book.
Previously the library staff would log a book out and stamp the return date in the book. Before computer systems the book was booked out by staff entering it into a manual register system, they them date stamped a small card and placed it into an envelope glued onto the first cover page of the book.
When I was younger I wanted to be a librarian, who knows I may end up helping after retirement 🙂
I actually did some library duties at my place of work. At the small library, we mainly had crime related books. I used the Dewey Decimal system to catalogue new books to the library.
Childs Hill Libary
Now most libraries have internet linked computers, printers and coffee machines for visitors. redundant books& DVDs are sold at a cheap price.
I enjoy visiting libraries browsing books looking at the decor and building. I have recently joined a small library near work, so I can go at some lunchtime
Libraries are crucial for local social well-being, education recreation.
In general with the advent and increase in books that can be digitally downloaded and bulk stored from companies such as Amazon books for reading on electronic devices such as Kindle, iPad, smart phones and other tablet PCs, the future of the printed book, book shops and libraries is uncertain. The electronic book (variously: e-book, eBook, e-Book, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition for newspapers and magazines is revolution how we obtain and read books etc.
I am old school as they say, preferring the look, feel and yes the odour (if antique) of a printed book. Printed books last and do not require electric power to make the words appear. 😉
A small selection of our books and the ubiquitous tablet PC and smart phone that replace the printed book!
I like to browse old/antiquarian book shops (fast disappearing too) charity shops from books . I have few old books, one dated in 1750s!
Reading for me opens and creates new worlds and indeed universes if reading sci-fi (science fiction). Words feed my imagination more so than watching TV or movies.
Reading exercises our imagination and thinking. Too much TV etc., merely makes our minds lazy and a substitute for our own imaginations. (excellent documentaries excepted).
I find radio documentaries, drama stimulate imagination too.
Being able to read is also very important in life and books encourage and aid children and adults learning to read.
Jean and I read a diverse subjects. We both like reference books, science, history, nature, biography religion, philosophy etc. As for fiction, I like to read US and some British crime /detective crime detective novels & sci-fi. I really like reading medieval crime mysteries too as the authors offer enjoyable plots as well as give real history back drops, which are informative and interesting.
It is estimated that 40% of books we buy are only part read or not read at all!
We could say looking at our bookshelves that those books we have read are the past and those we have not read are the future to be explored 😉
Do you have favourite books? Please let us know.