Saturday, 5 February 2011

Save our Libraries Day.

I have done my little bit for Save our Libraries day. I chose to do my own little library crawl to my nearest Libraries. I couldn't do all the ones that are closest to me, Melbourne library, which is part time and situated in a community centre, is closed on a Saturday. It is small and welcoming, however, with a good selection of local (very local) history books and very accommodating when the other half and I were searching for information to save out local village pub. (got the info, didn't manage to save the pub, now a pile of rubble). Borrowash library closes at 1pm on a Saturday, and as I didn't start the pub crawl until then, I missed that one.

So, 1pm I started out from Weston on Trent. 1.19 pm I was sitting behind a computer looking up stuff on Ancestry about one of my Ancestors, a George King, Head gamekeeper, who was shot by poachers, but I could write a whole book about him. One day I will. Not sure if I found out anything new because it took me little while to get to him, got a bit diverted by his son and family. the library was calm an quiet, I expected it to be busier on a Saturday, a few people on computers and the odd person browsing the shelves, a mum and child booking something out a t the desk. Still, mental note, they have a huge selection of local maps and copies of the town newspaper that goes back centuries and it is a good place to go to do more extensive ancestor searching.

2pm saw me at Alvaston Library where I rummaged through the DVD selection to borrow "Scott Pilgrim", a film that my son advised me to watch, but somehow missed it at the cinema (Cost £2, student rate). Had a chat with the library assistant, I know her because I previously worked as a relief assistant at the library, and did some other stuff there with mums and babies. She is also a relief assistant now, but her main job is a school librarian, and as I have done that as well, we talked about what a nice job it is, being your own boss and in total control of a library. I explained what I was doing today, and she said "Isn't it typical, library day, and our system is down", as she wrote my details down by hand, "that's why it is quiet here, we were really busy earlier". The computers are heavily used in Alvaston.

Next it was Allenton library, at around 2.30. Another little library in a converted primary school, the other half is a community centre. This was busy, a policeman sat in a corner looking wistful. I am not sure why, it could have been that three older children were sitting with a young woman doing craft activities. there was a lot of glue and glitter about. Two out three more young people were in the teenage section, generally chatting and browsing, while a group of little old ladies were gossiping in format of the "Romance" section "I said.... and he did... and she said...." that sort of stuff. There I borrowed a book on organic allotmenting and how to be a good grandparent. I recognised the library assistant there too, but she didn't recognise me. She is a relief assistant too.

On to Chellaston Library, in effect the closest. This library has only been open since last March, not quite a year. It was really bus there two, a lot of people browsing, and children in the children's section. I selected two local history books there that I though him indoors would like, and a bundle of leaflets about local history talks. I belong to a reading group at that library, (meeting on Monday) so I also collected the next book. The woman in the queue ahead of me said to the library assistant "I expected there to be people out side with petitions". "Ah, library day, we are not closing any libraries" said the assistant, "But hours are being cut, except for this library, we are getting more hours." "Good" said the customer "I have waited 25 years for this library, we love this library".

Then it was 3pm and on to Sinfin. I have also worked there in the past. It was not so busy there, no kids, but adults browsing and a man reading a newspaper. I borrowed a CD of Japanese music (50p) a book about edible wild plants and a Chinese cookbook from the children's section. I didn't think much of the cookery books in the adult section. Had another conversation with a library assistant that I knew (she belonged to that library), this time about whether or not the next Hooked on Reading conference will take place this year, and how my studies are progressing.

I am now going to cook a recipe that my daughter has chosen from the cookbook, and probably play the music in the background. The DVD will be watched some time over the weekend, if not this evening. the books will be rummaged through, and I will be posting tweets about today, trying to demonstrate the value of libraries and what they can offer.