I have just discovered that it is National Libraries Day today! That will be Friday, 8th February 2013, depending on when you read this post. I am very excited, although I haven't seen an advert for activities in my local library. Apparently libraries all over the UK are participating in events to celebrate the special day, and I came across it through my local newspaper, the Winsford and Middlewich Guardian. Winsford library is doing an event offering animal handling, which sounds like fun.
I love my local library! I love all local libraries. And I have been dismayed to read in the news all these stories about our government closing down libraries in the UK, reducing their opening hours, and generally taking away what I consider to be a very valuable and useful resource for local communities. I attend Middlewich library pretty much every Tuesday morning, when my daughter enjoys their free Rhymetime session. It consists of half an hour of singing and dancing for pre-school children, and a social hour for the parents and carers. The children enjoy some time together, they find lots of exciting books to read, and they run around burning off steam in a safe and contained environment.
As a child I would visit my previous local library every Saturday morning, with my mother and younger brother. Mum was the one who encouraged me to read. She was the guiding factor in my progression as a published author, and it was partly her insistence on us visiting the library that sticks in my mind. I loved those weekly jaunts. The library was a small, 1960s building in the market town of Cheadle, Staffordshire. It was not an inspiring place to look at, certainly no architectural dream, but it contained everything I needed to free my imagination and take me to other worlds.
Nowadays we use libraries for all sorts of reasons. They are not simply a place to borrow books anymore. I recently discovered a selection of magazines and business pamphlets in the Middlewich library, and they offered up ideas and suggestions for my developing business as a freelance writing professional. You can read daily newspapers in your local library, you can access the internet, and you can find details about events and groups in your community. They are a fantastic place to socialize and to meet like-minded people, no matter what your age.
So here's to National Libraries Day in the UK! I love my library!