I was talking to a customer at my library yesterday, and he said, “Goodness, look at all those computers! Aren’t libraries supposed to be all about books? What are those people doing here?” Turned out he hadn’t visited a library for a few years, so we chatted for a bit about the changing nature of life, the universe and everything.
After he’d gone, I went for a walk around the shelves, and found all sorts of things going on this customer might raise his eyebrows at. Our libraries today are full of people not just practicing silent reading, but Skyping, typing, playing online games, writing CVs, learning languages, listening to music, watching movies, doing origami, playing chess, knitting, drinking coffee and just hanging out with friends. We have art displays, writer events, and great competitions (The Summertime Reading Club for kids has a photo comp and a colouring comp too). Information is passed along, not just via words on paper, but through e-learning, interactive classes, displays, events, websites, and more.
Not only that, but libraries are hitting the street (and the interwebs). Our new mobile vans are wherever you are in the city, we have e-books and audio books that you can take with you to the ends of the earth, and you can drop into any library and get help with all your informationy needs. Librarians go out to schools, playgroups and community events. Apparently we even channel our inner librarian on the street – I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked for information/directions/explanations, and I know that it happens to other librarians too. Is it the glasses? Or do we just look like we know everything?
Whatever naysayers might think they know about libraries, let’s keep proving them wrong – let’s keep our buildings full of people doing all sorts of glorious and amazing things, through the 21st century and beyond.
PS. If you’re interested in finding out about all the things happening in and around libraries, start here with our Events Calendar, and remember to also keep an eye on the website and the blog, check out posters and displays in the library, or even easier – ask your librarian!