Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#readitmummiesanddaddies2013 - Stand proud and shout "I...am a librarian!"

(From 'The Mummy' starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz)

Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am. 

Rick: And what is that? 

Evelyn: I... am a librarian. 

Forgive the horribly cheesy quote, but we're very proud of our local library and we are extremely fortunate in Abingdon to have such a brilliant one. As soon as we could after she was born, we signed Charlotte up and she got her own library card and access to a gigantic collection of fabulous books as well as 'Rhymetime', a fun nursery rhyme session for parents and younger children and a great sticker and certificate scheme when she borrowed any books.

As time has progressed, and since Charlotte started school we've struggled to find the time to drop in as much as we used to but we still do. This blog wouldn't exist without Abingdon Library and their brilliant (and constantly updated / up to date) book collection - we buy books, we are kindly sent books for review but the majority of our content comes from those well stocked and wonderfully maintained shelves.

To me, libraries have always been exciting places full of inspiration and possibilities and I feel lucky to have grown up having access to great libraries in every locale I've lived in. Parents aren't always aware that their babies can join the library from birth, and they can borrow a whole stack of books every week for children (not grown up books, obviously) without having to pay a fine if they're late (though it's polite not to have to be badgered by the library to bring them back if you've kept them for a couple of years or so!) Not just books, there are DVDs, CDs, Audio Books and other things to find in there with activities and events happening throughout the year.

Libraries are under threat nationally, and are closing down left right and centre as funding is pared to the bare minimum or cut completely. Volunteers are stepping into the breach where possible but obviously the more people who use their local libraries and the more footfall they get, the better.

As part of the #readitmummiesanddaddies2013 pledge, we aim to use our library more - finding the time in a fairly hectic schedule to keep on visiting, keep on perusing their brilliant book stacks and also finding out when they run their events and readings, twittering our heads off as much as possible about these.

Please don't let libraries end up like they do in John Christopher's chilling dystopian book "The Guardians" (which eerily predicted the rise and rise of ebooks and the fall of interest in reading). Support your local library!


Bookaholic Mum said...

I absolutely agree. When I was little my mum and dad didn't have much money so we were regular visitors to the library and I'm convinced that played a huge role in me growing up to be a bookaholic. As well as free books, most libraries do a free Rhyme Time session at least once a week so they are a brilliant place to go when you have a baby - both for you as a mum or dad to get out of the house and meet other parents as well as to introduce your child to books. When places like SureStart are being cut and people have less money for baby and toddler activities the local library becomes even more important.

ReadItDaddy said...

Agreed, and as important as volunteers are to ensuring a library survives in a community, services get pared down and reduced because volunteers can't always spare the huge time commitment to shore up those services 'for free'.

It's a very sad state of affairs and it feels like there's a lot of high-up collective 'shrugging - so what' going on and that infuriates me to no end. How can parents on low incomes ever hope to imbue their kids with a love of reading if the best source of 'free' books gets taken away from them?