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Odette Elliott-A couple of thoughts about Libraries for ALL.

December 17, 2010

I was distressed a while ago, when I heard that the Homework Club in my friend’s local library was being closed.  I knew how valuable this had been for the children who attended.  There are children with no computers at home and no peace to study.

Clearly the loss of any library will be a major disaster for poorer children, who may not have access to books in their homes.  This goes without saying and it is really distressing.

People seem to suggest that in many middle-class homes, people just go ahead and buy books and don’t use the library.  But what about the child who is just learning to read, who wants to take out every “Horrid Henry” book?  The parents will not want to buy each of those books, as the child will fairly quickly move on to something else.  The library provides just what the child needs in his or her early reading days.  (The same goes for some series books – for example books about fairies.  They serve a purpose for the moment.)

My grandson is surrounded by books in our home, but what he has preferred so far, are books about Diggers, Lorries, Tractors etc.  We have been able to borrow all these information books from the library and not only has HE been delighted, but I have learned quite a lot!

And there is the matter of browsing.  I know that so many books are available on Amazon.  However, how does one know what will catch one’s eye and imagination?  Yesterday I saw a fantastic book displayed in my library.  It is  “Animal Migration – Remarkable journeys by air, land and sea”.  It is published by the Natural History Museum, price £14.99.  I borrowed it from the library. I can’t wait to sit down and read, enjoy and learn about one of the most mysterious aspects of animal and bird life.  I also expect to be able to look at it and share the delight and wonder with my 12 year-old grand-daughter.  I only discovered this book while browsing in the library.

Browsing is good.  Libraries are excellent – for us ALL!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2010 9:05 am

    One of the high points of our week when the children were little was going to the library and choosing another pile of books. We might have been middle class ( teacher and social worker) but we couldn’t afford to keep up with that level of interest. Children’s libraries have become such lovely welcoming places, I can’t imagine what parents would do without them.

  2. childrensauthor permalink
    December 21, 2010 9:59 am

    I do so agree. And there is that wonderful serendipitous moment when you discover a new interest quite by chance, something which you’d never have thought of if you hadn’t had the wide choice of books available in a decent library. I can think of many occasions as a child when I went to the library meaning to get out one specific book and came out with something completely different.

    Elizabeth Hawksley

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