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Libraries. Open to all with the possibilities of imagination, knowledge and curiosity. Stay as long or as little as you please. When was the last time you visited your local library?
My interaction with libraries has changed with growing up but it is still a place I frequent. As a kid, I remember being so excited as it meant I got to borrow a new toy. I got to stand on the brown wooden step ladder and flip through the toy catalogue which were sleeves in a binder at that time.
Once I could read, I was always looking for my next adventures book, crawling along the floor so I could get a better view at the books on the bottom shelf. Once I ventured out of the safe short shelves of children’s fiction, I borrowed books about the weather and loved looking at all the cloud names, even if I couldn’t really pronounce or remember them. I loved the books about deep sea and all the weird and wonderful creatures that never see the light of day.
When I was a teen, the library offered me a chance to load up on more books than I could read for the school holidays.
I have recently been thinking about what more libraries can offer. A place that brings more people together across all walks of life. I did a quick research of the local libraries in this city. It seems local libraries are not all made equal. But I find the myriad of activities gives us a glimpse on what is possible with libraries:
– school holiday kids groups
– english conversation groups
– writing workshops
– author talks
– art exhibits
– computing classes for seniors
– scrabble nights
– book clubs
– creative workspaces
– craft sessions for kids
I would want my libraries to be the hub of active events for the whole population across age groups to promote being active and socialness, a separate place to chat to curb loneliness, bus services to and from the library for the less mobile, games nights, safe spaces for people to access services in person, more crafting groups and conversation interest groups for all ages. There could be cultural talks, conversations around sustainability and ethics or science. Move some of the events that are hosted in pubs into our libraries where they can be accessible for those who prefer more quiet environments and are not pressured to buy anything.
In Finland, you can borrow power tools and sporting equipment. Attached to some of their libraries are also public balconies, movie theatres, creative makerspaces, karaoke rooms and even a doorway to the supermarket next door.
What is your relationship with your local library like? What sort of events does your local library have and what events would you like there to be?
Can we make libraries better places to foster culture, education and a better sense of community?