When last did you set foot in a library?
In the last few years, libraries have become somewhat obsolete, what with e-Books and the internet. Tasks and assignments that would have automatically driven one to the local library can now be looked up online with very little effort.
The whole culture of being in a space where one could trawl through volumes to:
- find the necessary information
- read it
- be considerate of other users in the process
- look after the borrowed book and return it in the same condition, to avoid the cross clucking of an irate librarian
has almost disappeared.
In reality, libraries are still fabulous places where all sorts of things happen. They don’t only have a wide selection of books to choose from, but also have motivating speakers, holiday activities, story hours and other interesting events.
They’re safe havens of quiet and solitude. Some libraries have areas where kids can do their homework. Photocopies can be made or one can just sit quietly and read.
The City of Joburg recently tweeted that they have extended selected library’s hours to be open on Sundays between 9am and 3pm. This is awesome news.
Joining the library is easy. All you need is your identity document or driver’s license and a Municipality account. There’s a short form with basic details to complete. Parents can list their dependents on the form and they get their own library cards. Books are normally issued for a two week period. Be warned though, if you bring them back late, you’ll have to pay a fine of R2 per book per week—even if they are only one day late.
If you borrow a book, it stands to reason that it needs to be looked after. Why… obviously, because many other people will want to read the same book!
Whilst the World Wide Web is incredibly useful, sometimes nothing beats a decent reference book that can be still found on a library shelf.
My friend Ginny’s local library even hosted a pop-up book fair, where a group of authors gathered and showcased their work. The books were for sale too, with a percentage of the sales being donated to the library. A win-win situation!
Join your local library—you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Many of our South African children have problems reading, this is a great way to help.