OPINION | Borrow a book, find a home

I feel like someone’s trying to tell me something.

This week, I’ve had two completely unconnected conversations that ended up being about the value of libraries (very valuable, we all agreed), then three weirdly aligned posts on social media in praise of this incredible community resource.

One of them included a series of pictures of a woman with books arranged around her to look like angel wings, an apple tree, a skirt. You get the idea. But now I want to find it, I can’t, so if you know what that is, please send me the link – it’s driving me nuts.

All this on top of actually working out of a library one day this week. I’ve previously written in praise of working from my car, but the library really is next level awesomeness.

There’s wifi (quicker than both my home and office, though that’s not saying much), there’s a place to plug in my laptop, there are clean toilets, spacious desks, and – best of all – there are hours and hours of total silence.

It’s not that I’m new to libraries – I read a lot and have a small budget, so they’ve always been part of my life. I think I just forgot to appreciate them as anything other than a place to grab an armful of books.

Mind you, even that boggles the mind. How would you sell that idea today? “Yeh, we’ll just put a building in every town full of a whole bunch of free resources and let people borrow them. I’m sure they’ll bring them back.”

Which leads me to all the other cool stuff. The rows of computers that you can use – for FREE.The reading room full of newspapers you can relax in – for FREE. The author talks and book clubs you can attend – for FREE. The fun stuff that’s actually got nothing to do with books or information but has found a home in the room under the library – the ESL classes, the knitting groups, the toddler music gathering, the school holiday craft sessions. And guess what? They’re all FREE.

There is something so civilised about a country that agrees that no matter where or who you are, you should have access to books and information.

That right there is power to the people.

Also, librarians always have the best funky jewellery, don’t you think?