Saturday 9 February 2013

Where the books are

I'm on the coach to Bristol as I write this, so please excuse any bad formatting and lack of links - I'm using my phone! It's National Libraries Day today though, so I've been reading, and I couldn't resist!

I used to go to my grandparents' house every half term as a child. Those memories include Baffins Pond, where we'd always go, trips in the local area (the historical ones were my favourite), going to see Poppa when he was a tour guide at Forts Purbrook & Widley, and many others. A fond memory is being taken to the library when they were holding children's reading sessions; they'd have dress up days and get everyone involved. I remember a time when I dressed up as a pirate and told everyone my name was Jane. I was an odd child!

Maybe it's because I don't have any children of my own, but I never hear about events like that any more. Small libraries have limited opening hours, and just in general they appear to be fading out of social consciousness, which is a real shame.

I recently enquired to the library in Coulsdon about starting up, or helping with, a Chatterbooks group. The librarian told me that there hadn't been much interest when they'd started one before, so it was probably better to contact a library like Purley. I'm not blaming anyone in mentioning this; I just thought it sad that, in an area where there was numerous primary schools nearby, no children were attending.

This is such a shame. Part of what I love about children's books is doing all the silly voices and seeing the kids engage. I remember loving being read to, and also loved talking about books. That won't have gone away.

Does your local library still do events like that? In this time of e-books and technology, what can be done to revive the library?


  1. Hi Kayleigh, I am a Children's Librarian in Scotland and we most definitley still do things like this. We run Chatterbooks groups in many of our libraries and they are very popular . It's a shame that your local library didn't take you up on your offer as normally all it takes to get a successful Chatterbooks group going is having someone with the energy and enthusiasm to run one. And yes, don't worry we still run lots of sessions where the children (and staff) dress up and do funny voices. We ercently had a Roald Dahl day celebration where one member of staff worked the rest of her shift still dressed as an Oompa Loompa! I think you will probably find that there are lots of session like this still going on but libraries do have a habit of not shouting about what they do which we need to change. I don't think we have been as badly affected in Scotland with closures etc (yet) but I know that we are constanltly thinking out of the box to make libraries fun and relevant for children and families whilst still keeping books at the heart of things. Hope this restores your faith!!

  2. It really does - that sounds amazing! I agree that libraries need to shout about it more, and it wouldn't hurt to have longer opening hours either - I know a few people who'd jump at a library position! Thanks for commenting, you have definitely restored my faith - I just have to find the events round here now :-).


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