Weekly Geeks 2010-12: Checking Out Libraries

National Library Week is coming up April 11-17, and April is School Libraries Month (2010 is the 25th anniversary). This got me wondering about the state of libraries around the globe.
What’s your earliest memory of a library? What was it like for you? Were you more likely to hang out in the gym or the library when you were in school?
How’s the health of the library system in your community? How do you support your local library? How often do you check out books from the library vs. buying books? Tell us what your favorite library is like and include some photos if you can.

I remember that when I was a little girl I went to the local library with my mother. We had our library booklet where the librarian used to fill out by hand what books we got and when they were due. Then she would fill out the card which stuck in the book with our reader number and due date. The cards she kept. I have no idea what system they used back in those days to keep track of which books were due and who had them. They must have been pretty efficient in organizing.

Then years later I went to another library where they had little punch cards that were punched with a machine, not a computer yet, but definitely technically more advanced than the older system.

I always loved libraries. There was a time when I didn’t go that often, but now, that the kids like to read or be read to, I go more often again. I don’t get that much fiction, which I tend to rather buy and keep, but I’m getting tons of non-fiction there. Our older son has his own library card which he also uses with the library bus that comes to his school every two months. Also both our boys are members of the local church library because the kindergarten goes there regularly. So, at least where I live, the kids automatically get used to libraries from a very early age.

Library courtyardThe library system seems to be pretty healthy over here. Our local library has several little branches in the various parts of town and a number of library buses that go to schools. That way most of the school kids have a library card – whether they all use it though, I don’t know. Our library is situated in an old building (not old enough to be beautiful, just old enough to be ugly, except for some parts), but is in the process of being renovated. Outside the library Some parts of the building are either torn down or cored, so that the library had to move into different other buildings. Quite inconvenient because for kids’ books you have to go here, for non-fiction you have to go to another place…In one of the buildings they have a small cafe with lots of international newspapers where you can hang out for hours reading and watching people. It has a courtyard where you can sit outside in summer. Very nice and quiet.

Whenever we go to the library it is packed. Not that this reflects whether the library makes good money. It is subsidized and only wants money from the readers when books are not returned in time.

You can see a lot of beautiful libraries at Curious Expeditions. But I want to draw your attention to a private library. It is Jay Walker’s library in his home in New England. If I had a library like that I don’t think I’d ever leave my house again. AMAZING!

I had a look around for famous libraries and came across some ancient ones of which only ruins remain.

Hadrian's library by agelakis

Library of Ephesus by ultimatejourneys

Library of Pergamon by Zsenya

Angkor Wat by stuck_in_customs


All four images above from flick’r.

To read what other weekly geeks have to say about libraries go here. Oh, and the library in the original weekly geeks post is the Library of Congress.

2 Comments Write a comment

  1. Love the photos of the ruins – even as I’m sad that they are ruins, ahem. Reminds me that I also get sad when I think about the Egyptian library that burned way back in Cleopatra’s time (I really have no idea when – but it still saddens me) I volunteer at a library but don’t use it as often as I should. I just have too many in house books waiting for my attention that I don’t often think about my next book being from the library. I end up donating more books than checking out books! and I love library sales – I always score some good ones. And never have to return them. 🙂


  2. Thanks for your comment, Care. I know what you mean, my TBR pile is quite high, so I never get fiction from the library. But for non-fiction I find it is a very useful place. The library of Alexandria was supposedly burnt down by Caesar by accident. I had a look around whether there are pictures of it, but it seems there is nothing left. Too bad.


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