I cannot speak with enough enthusiasm about the library service. I never went to the library much as a child. This quote from CS Lewis has always spoken to me:
“I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.”
That said, although I similarly had access to all my parents’ books suitable and unsuitable, the library would have brought some welcome additional variety to the stock of children’s books available. My sister became a youthful aficionado of the library and was always going in to the book club run by the librarian. I looked upon her with disdain. Foolish me.
Mr. Waffle as a child was a regular at the local library so when our own children came along, we got into the habit of going to the library. The scales fell from my eyes. What a truly wonderful service.
I continue to marvel at the ability to go into a library anywhere in the country and take out a book and then return it in my local branch or vice versa. When my sister-in-law and her family were in Cork recently (a triumph, of course), they went to the library in the city (it’s a good one) and borrowed some books to return in Dublin.
I have not bought a book in ages; almost anything I read, I order from the library. I am at a bit of a loss to understand how, on this basis, our house continues to be absolutely falling down with books. A mystery.
I recently went to investigate the newly renovated city centre library in Kevin Street. It’s a delight. My photo is of the children’s library in an attempt to lure my sister-in-law and little niece there but the adult reading room is quite lovely like an old study.
And the other day, when I was in the library, I noticed that they have a new digital borrowing service called Borrow Box where you can download ebooks and audio books. Just as I am setting off on my holidays. What is not to love?