It’s easy to take your local library for granted. We've got used to these humble hubs of the community giving us access to thousands of books, magazines, music and films. For free! And everyone benefits. Oliver gets to hear Diary Of A Wimpy Kid read out loud and Joan relishes her daily chats with the friendly librarians. These British institutions do so much more than just loan out books.
In fact, there are some great reasons to rediscover your lovely, local library that you might not even be aware of. For instance, you could...
Improve your CV
The local library offers free courses. Some which will add useful new qualifications to your CV. You can get your ECDL – European Computer Driving Licence – which will teach you all sorts from PowerPoint presentations to formatting spreadsheets. Nose around and you’ll find all sorts of inspirational and practical lectures and workshops to attend too. Brush up on your bookbinding, learn to find fossils and create your own map of the world. Go forth and discover!
Meet your favourite authors
Want to find out what it’s like to make a living from writing? Want to know how to get published? Want to meet your favourite author? Well, you can do at the local library. There are many different author speaker events such as Read Regional and YA Shot that give you a chance to listen to readings and ask questions. Iain Banks, Alan Bennett and Louise Welsh have all taken part before.
Libraries aren’t just for borrowing books. Oh no, they are also for puppetry, beatboxing, photography, music and film. The Art of Libraries is a new scheme to help develop the creative skills of young people by collaborating with cultural venues, galleries and museums, which means this year you should see a wealth of interesting cultural events unfold in your local library.
The first rule of library club is: quietness. Flick through your favourite glossy magazines. Have a listen to the latest album and decide whether it’s worth investing in. Gather three new books to borrow. Use the computer and peruse that posh restaurant you’ve had your beady eye on. And if someone tries to talk to you? Fingers on lips, ‘shhh… this is a library’.
Discover your family history
There’s an amazing collection of genealogy tools to hand at your local library including books, newspaper archives, journals, electoral registers, obituaries and parish records to trace your family tree way back. You can even use their subscription logins to Ancestry Library Edition, FindMyPast and the British Newspaper Archive, for free. Happy hunting.
Expand their imagination
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child”, Dr. Seuss
Books are the stairway to your little ones’ imaginations. In a world that’s crammed with electronic media, there’s something magical about sharing a real book. Not only can you reap the rewards of reading together, you can also get a well-earned break and let someone else do the talking for once at your local's story time readings.