Suggested by Barbara:
I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?
I get books from the library about once a month - enough to occupy me for the whole four weeks. (In other words, nowhere near as often as when I was at uni.) All I do there is borrow books; I’m sure I don’t know half the other things they offer, but I’ve never been inclined to find out. While I might only use it for the minimum purpose, nothing will ever replace the library (and I’m not much of a coffee drinker, anyway).
I do recall going to the library when I was young, but there must have been a gap because when I began dropping by the Belconnen library on my way home from school in Year 9 I needed a new card. That marked the beginning of my current book addiction - by the time I was in Year 12 I was going every week. I don’t have any stand-out library memories, just lots of memories of particular books; like my delight at stumbling upon a copy of The French Lieutenant’s Woman after encountering an excerpt in a trial AST paper and thinking I’d love to read that. Sometimes I’m surprised by how many books there are for which I can remember the precise moment of discovery.
My opinion on modern-versus-cosy can be found in this post about Brisbane’s very modern CBD branch (in the yellow box --> ). I’m not really a fan of modern décor at the best of times and I still miss the below-street-level coziness of the old Central City library. I don’t think books belong in pristine modernity; they don’t look happy that way. Their limitless ability to let the mind fly free and encounter myriad wonders clashes horribly with polished blandness. And books demand a place where you can settle in and be comfy, not bright light through cheap plastic venetians and chairs too large for a small person to get out of easily.