Today I made a trip to the library, which luckily for me is right next door to my flat. It got me thinking about libraries, how they work and what they should be used for.
When I was growing up, my parents didn't have a lot of money. I loved to read, but the only books I ever actually owned were either received as Christmas/birthday presents or from a great second hand book stall in the local market that sold children's books for 20p (pocket money price). So every Saturday, my Mum, sister & I would walk to the local library and get out the maximum 8 books each - and I always looked forward to it. Now it's one of the happy memories of my childhood.
But when I was in the library today, it struck me how different libraries have become. Granted, my library is very small and also functions as a community centre but I think there have been general changes. There were people tapping on computers and chatting in groups, and even though the computer area is screened off, it was still noisier than it would have been back when I was 5 or 6. The children's book area had toys as well as books. There didn't seem to be many comfortable places to actually sit and read in the library - there was only a hard wooden desk and that was taken up by a group of people running a book club. There's a local council phone which someone was using to find out about council tax.
Some of these changes are good, no doubt, and some are bad. What do you all think? I would also be interested to hear about libraries where you live, and if they're different to mine (UK).