There’s something very unique about libraries. With the onset of the internet and eBooks, bookstores have declined in number but it seems that our libraries have not. Having reinvented themselves, they hold a proud place in our local community.
Unlike many clubs, membership is free and open to anyone. They are the ultimate recycler of books, magazines, music and movies. EBooks are even available to borrow on line from the comfort of home.
I never feel alone or lost in a library. Libraries are social and are often located in beautiful spaces. Why stop in to borrow books when there’s a wealth of other things to do there? Whether you use the computers, attend an event such as story time for children, learn something new like a technology program, join a book group or listen to an author talk, there is something for everyone. And if you ever need anything, librarians go out of their way to help. I once borrowed a book from an interstate University library – the librarian found the right solution for me. What a change to dealing with many retail outlets?
I like browsing the shelves for the latest and not so latest books. As an author it’s a thrill to see my own book on the shelves at the Monash Public Libraries as well as the Stonnington Public Libraries. Did you know that when you borrow a book by an Australian writer they receive royalties? This doesn’t happen in other countries. It feels good to know that I can support an Australian author just by borrowing their book.
What are your favourite libraries? I love the view from the Wheelers Hill library where you can sit, read a magazine overlooking the Dandenong Ranges and watch the ducks paddling their cares away in the lake below. Then pop into the café for lunch and browse the art gallery for the latest exhibitions. I love Phoenix Park Library where you can watch children play in the park and then attend a painting class in the Community Centre next door. You can do more than exercise your brain at the Clayton library by heading in to the adjoining swimming pool and gym after borrowing a book.
If you haven’t stepped into a library for years, go and try it out for yourself. You might discover something exciting is happening.