The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme with a prompt featuring a book related question. The hop begins on a Friday and ends on a Thursday and should hopefully give people the opportunity to learn something new about the blogger.
The Book Blogger Hop can be found on Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and obviously my answers can be found here!
It’s a double question week this week all about libraries; let’s take each question one at a time.
The library that comes to mind first and foremost (because it is the most impressive library I have ever been to) is the New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
I’m pretty sure I just walked around the place pressing my fist against my mouth to stop from squealing. Not only does it house so much knowledge but that knowledge lives in a pretty spectacular place. This ol’ gal has brains and beauty.
I am incredibly jealous of anyone who gets to use this building on a regular basis.
As to libraries I would like to visit? Here are 4, see if you can see a common theme of what I like in my libraries (besides books that is)!
Clementinum National Library Prague, Czech Repbublic
Strahov Monastery Library Prague, Czech Republic
Wiblinglen Abbey Library Ulm, Germany
Admont Abbey Library Admont, Austria
This is shameful but I don’t tend to anymore. When I visit libraries it’s either because they’re a historic building or place of interest (i.e. New York Public Library) or because the library is housing a specific event or exhibition (like when I recently went to see Cats on the Page at The British Library in London).
I genuinely can’t remember the last time I went to the library to simply be present there and enjoy the space.
If I look up my local library (which is a 25 minute walk or 5 minute drive) it tells me that there are public computers, events, courses, workshops and of course books to loan and space in which to read/ work/ study.
The unfortunate thing about my local library (as with a lot of libraries) is that it is reliant on public funding. If no one visits libraries then they don’t get a great deal of funding. If they don’t get a great deal of funding they struggle to update and modernise their facilities. If they don’t have modernised facilities there’s no draw to the public and they don’t get a lot of visitors.
See where I’m going with this?
Sadly the library near me is rather outdated and sparse.
There is also something else that I think has an impact on whether libraries (a free space which absolutely should remain free) are used and that is income.
Let’s take a look:-
- Public computers – computers are no longer the accessory for the very wealthy anymore, a lot of people own a computer in their household if not one per individual. Printers are also now more affordable.
- Events/ courses/ workshops – these will only have an appeal to those the particular event will appeal to. If I take a look at upcoming events in my local library they are Rhymetime, Construction Club (Lego), Craft and Chatter, Scrabble Club, Managing Your Menopause, Crochet a Cactus. Whilst I friggin’ adore the sound of some of these I am noting that they are offering to a niche audience and that audience isn’t in the bracket of the 20’s – 40’s. Not unless you’re off work or have young children. Libraries (or at least my local ones) don’t seem to be aiming to offer anything for people in the evenings. Also, if you have money you’re probably going to be going to places that offer something a bit more catered to you as an individual.
- Books – if you have money and want to spend it on books then quite often that’s what you do rather than borrowing a book from the library. After all, you buy a book and it can sit in your house or Kindle forever and you don’t have to worry about heading back to return it. It’s yours, you own it. Now there are more places to buy books than ever and we all know how Amazon undercuts with prices.
- Free space to read/ work/ study – if you’re lucky enough to have a place in your own home to do these things then why would you exit your cozy house with your nice bathroom and endless tea making facilities? You wouldn’t. People don’t. That’s why we have a problem. Libraries don’t often come with a posh cafe, or at least the ones near me don’t.
Libraries are a wonderful, free space that should remain wonderful and free. In a commercial world where everything has a price I think it’s fantastic that places still exist where people can exist and not have to worry that a value is attached to their presence.
How long this will last? I’m truly not too sure.
I’m very sorry for not providing anything this week as I haven’t been blog hopping this week. My mojo for blogging has been low recently as I mentioned in my post yesterday – June has not been too kind.
Let’s hope the mojo returns next week and I sort of think it will because I’m sort of forcing it to.
What is your favourite library/ library that you desperately want to visit?
I’d also be keen to hear your thoughts on libraries including when you last visited one, what you do there and your local libraries in general. I don’t know if libraries are popular or struggling where you live?