Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Joyous World of Libraries

Windfield Road Library Today
Stamford Library
My mother would take me to the library from the day that I could walk, it was at the top of our road. By four years of age I could read because I wanted to explore this little library. It was at the top of Windfield Road in Garston, Liverpool and I read my first book there in about 1956. As a result of this and many libraries later I opposed, as the elected County Councillor, the closure of the Ermine library in Lincoln in about 2006. Sadly Windfield Road Library is no more and saw life as a chippy and then a hairdressers before its present sad demise. There is and always was a first class library a fifteen minute bus journey away within Garston called Bowden Road and I learned an affection for that big and more urban library but it was not that first love. When the small library went that little community lost something precious and it never came back. Ermine Library is still there and local people and local councillors will still campaign to keep it open. In the 50 years between the two libraries there has been a lifetime of that joyous exploration of the world that only libraries and books can bring. My first serious composition at the age of 14 was about a second hand book shop behind Lewis's in Liverpool that had been there since the 20's and I am writing this equally important missive now at the age of 58 still fascinated by the world of knowledge that books bring. My house is full of books probably as many as Windfield RoadLibrary held and my son is an avid reader and began as an explorer of that library. Then Stamford library came along, his first library and one of the most uniquely placed libraries I have encountered situated within the site of the old market. Its still there too and thriving. I remember using that library for research when planning some of the work to campaign for Stamford CAB, also still thriving. My wife too reads extensively and began in the same way brought up in Stamford. Now we have a library in my City Council Ward on Newark Road and the very impressive Central Library.
File:Lincoln Central Library .jpg
Lincoln Central Library
Bracebridge Lincoln Library
 Yes, its difficult alongside new technology these days to understand why we have books for some. Some thought email and the Internet would destroy libraries but they adapted. I can see kindles and books in the same library as no doubt Greek libraries thousands of years ago had developing ways of storing the written word and as here the typeface replaced the gorgious calligraphy of the monks. That said, those forms are still around, preserved and often imitated. When all said and done though you can't beat the smell, texture and visual joy of a book, old or new.

1 comment:

  1. Very good, Chris . . . will the Apple IPods and Kindle devices ever replace the book? . . . Unfortunately, I think they will . . . the super graphics and manipulation of text sizes and fonts on the iPod are amazing . . . the lower production costs involved . . . and of course, why not play a favourite orchestral piece by Debussy or Faure while you are reading? . . . all libraries will become digital very soon . . . Lincoln Central Library is now . . . we cannot live in the past, we must move on . . . but what a wonderful experience the printed page was! . . .