Do you remember the heartbreaking scene where Carrie Bradshaw was on her way to marry Mr Big and he didn’t arrive? I was so jealous of Carrie for thinking of having a wedding in such a beautiful library. Why hadn’t I thought of that?
Then came the guilt as she was left at the altar. Tears flowed down my face, but was it for Carrie’s heartbreak or the fact that I would miss out on seeing her perfect library wedding? Probably a little of both.
A childhood place of wonder and joy
Since I was a little girl the library has been a place of great wonder and joy. I remember borrowing my first copy of Cinderella and reading it over and over again.
The idea that I could take my own little library bag and have a choice of thousands of stories made my four-year-old heart sing.
Then came the joy of school libraries; I still remember the rule of choosing one fiction and one non- fiction.
In the early years it was Enid Blyton taking me for adventures in ‘The Wishing Chair’ or ‘Magic Faraway Tree’. Later I learned about the Egyptians and the Ancient Wonders of the World through the non-fiction section.
Then came classics like Francis Hodgson Burnett’s ‘A Little Princess’ and Little Women’s Jo who taught me that it was okay for a girl to write stories, even if you really wanted to be her beautiful and popular sister, Amy.
Poor Mum had to buy me a set of encyclopaedia that she could ill-afford because I was distraught that you couldn’t borrow them. I was sure they contained all the knowledge in the world.
In high school, the quiet of the library calmed the anxieties of fitting in and like minded souls would swot for the next exam or feverishly copy down quotes for the next assignment. ‘Ssh’, would come the hiss of the old school librarian.
My grown up library
The teachers’ college library was a whole new beast; a library with books on philosophy and curriculum – big books to use as teaching tools, and even posters and videos to use as resources. How advanced we thought we were!
Teaching my year one and twos’ was easy with the ‘RIBIT’ program – Read In Bed It’s Terrific. Every week they’d count up how many titles they had read from Dr Seuss to chapter books like The BFG and Fantastic Mr, Fox … still timeless classics.
Perhaps it’s time to revisit this program which simply promoted reading for enjoyment. Watching the stillness of a class in library lesson hearing Koala Lou or Possum Magic for the first time, or hearing the giggles brought on by the antics of Clifford, the Big Red Dog or The Diary of a Wombat is a joy to witness.
The library through motherhood
As a young mum moving to a new suburb, visiting the library was a great way to spend the
day. We’d squish up on the bean bags and read some books before carefully making our selections and proudly presenting our library card to be scanned.
We’d have a snack and a play in the park next door and meet old friends or make new friends. Nowadays there’s even a coffee van on the deck for harried Mums to stop and relax in the sunshine.
My library today
Today I belong to a writing group based in the library and the librarians are now our friends, not shushing but laughing along with us, ferreting out writing magazines and competitions and organising fantastic author talks—Christine Wells, Frances Whiting, Katherine Howell , Kimberley Freeman , Cass Moriarty and author and Kylie Kaden (who has also contributed to She Brisbane!)—are just a few of the generous authors who have shared their knowledge and given us lots of laughs.
You can join craft groups, book clubs or do a computer course. There are storytimes for the kids and school holiday art and crafts.
There was even once a wildlife display with snakes and lizards for the littlies to enjoy. You can learn how to tidy your home – Marie Kondo style, or enjoy afternoon tea discussing Alice in Wonderland or Wuthering Heights.
Discover it for yourself
If you have not already done so, discover it for yourself for a fun and free day out in the holidays, to meet friends who share the same interests, for great reads, or just to save on the cost of your favourite magazine whilst enjoying a latte.
I love libraries so much I even have one in my home. Eat your heart out, Carrie Bradshaw!
Now if I could just find a librarian to put my books into alphabetical order! Is the Dewey system still in vogue or do we colour code our books now? I’m sure I can find out at the library.