Wednesday, January 14, 2009

going to the library in your pjs

A momentous event occurred late this afternoon. I became a card carrying member of the Bundaberg Regional Library. This is the local council library. Apparently now, with last year's council mergers I can also borrow books from Gin Gin, Childers and Woodgate if I'm every out that way. Exciting.

Why momentous I hear you ask? (and even if you're not asking I'm answering anyhow). Because since moving back to Bundaberg eight years ago I have resisted rejoining the library. It was a illogical and irrational dislike of the library, probably because it was no longer the library experience I remembered as a child growing up here in Bundaberg.

You see the library is now flash and new (well about ten years old maybe more - not sure) with lots of computers and internets, and a special room for microfiche, and a huge kids section, books on tape, cds, dvds, large print, large non-fiction section and all the latest fiction. It has electronic doors and those beepy things that go off in great alarm if you try and sneak a book out. In other words, it is a contemporary well funded library.

When I was a child the library was located in a beautiful old bank building on Quay Street (yes near the river). (It's now the regional art gallery and painted a putrid shade of yellow). Back then it was traditional white. It was darkish and gloomy inside, and the books were all crammed in to a very small space. But there was a great kids section as well as a lot of non-fiction where I borrowed a great many books for ancient history assignments during high school. When my brother and I were very small the library opened late on a Thursday night. Sometimes for a great treat, after dinner and IN OUR PYJAMAS our parents would take us to the library to borrow some books. There seemed nothing strange about this. I seem to remember other children in dressing gowns but I might be imagining things. We would race up the ramp, past the eerie rock fountain which lit up at night, and spend a lot of time browsing the shelves. There were no scanners, just a team of ladies with a date stamp. I think the library cards were made of cardboard initially and then moved to plastic laminated with a barcode. But they were nothing like the plastic card that was expertly and efficiently dispensed to me this afternoon with its fancy barcode and identification number.

This new library is not the Bundaberg library of my childhood. But it does have a huge stock of dvds that can borrowed for free. So I relented and signed on the dotted line.


lucy said...

Even though I was still quite young when the library moved to where it now I still have fond memories of the old Bundaberg library. It was a wonderful place and like entering another world! I do remember (I’m not sure whether correctly) it being quite small and the shelves quite intimidating for someone so small! It was all very mysterious and somewhere that could be explored! I do agree, they did have a really good kids section and I remember going to story readings every week. The new library has always seemed so pretentious with a lack of charm…
Maybe I’m turning into one of those grumpy old women (which would be a bit of a worry), but I think we need get rid of those laptop users accessing the internet at every second desk!

Wendy said...

yes, and apparently the free wireless has proved to be a huge expense for the council which may not have been foreseen..same issue with the backpackers in the park outside choir rehearsal :)

yes I agree there is a certain lack of charm with the new's much more clinical ...the old one had character...when libraries were all about the books!!! and keeping quiet and hushed..

Sue said...

Aah - see now I understand why there were backpackers using laptops outside the library when it was closed on Sunday!!! I stopped in to return some books and wondered what was so great about those uncomfortable looking benches out the front...

BTW, I have to say that although borrowing books from a library is sometimes a necessary evil, I much prefer that crisp, fresh smell that comes with opening a newly purchased book!! There is nothing like being the first to view the pages. Some of the books I've borrowed from the library lately have had dirty fingerprints, food spills and other unidentifiable stains (I hate to think what they were) in them. Maybe I have a touch of OCD but I'm not fond of dirty books (in either sense of the word I guess)... :)

Wendy said...

Yes I love buying new books too for those very reasons.

I can understand books aging and don't mind that at all...but some people aren't very considerate with how they look after what they borrow.

Plus two dvds this week had huge scratches on them which made them unwatchable. Annoying as the screen just froze up halfway through...just when I was getting into it too.