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Do you use a library? Are they still needed?

by Gwen (follow)
Gwen O'Toole Luscombe is the director of a boutique creative services company, The Ideas Library. Visit www.TheIdeasLibrary.com.au
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public library
Are public libraries still needed? Do you have a library card? Image credit: D Jager/sxc.hu

Have libraries become useless? Do you use a library?

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Libraries are essential! They let kids who who might not otherwise get much access to books learn to love and appreciate them. Sure you can get public domain classics online now, but nothing compares with actually holding a book in your hand. A survey from the 2011 found that over 4 million kids in the UK don't own a single book. http://www.bbc.com/news/education-16031370
I wonder if the stats for Australia would be similar. It's worrying because reading to kids while they are young makes such a huge difference to their education.

Libraries were my sanctuary when I was bullied at school and are the source of most of the books I read, for myself and for my children, today. I take the kids to my local library at least once a week and they love it there. It's not just a place you can borrow things from, it's a community meeting place where kids can interact with each other and there are meeting rooms, night classes, clubs, workshops and holiday programs.

I recently read Caitlin Moran's essay on the impact libraries had on her life (as a poor homeschooled kid) in her book Morantholgy (http://acomfychair.com/moranthology-by-caitlin-moran/). It has also been included in this book about libraries, with essays by other prominent authors including Stephen Fry.

Libraries are a mark of a civilised society and I think it's really tragic that so many are being closed down in a lot of places. I never realised growing up how lucky I was to have the use of the Brisbane City Council Library. It's awesome. All the branches across the city are connected, so you can borrow books (or dvds, or cds) from one and return them to another, order books held at other libraries to be brought to your closest branch etc. The Ipswich Library, though smaller, is pretty spiffy too.

I actually signed up for a library card a couple of weeks ago. It's my first one since I was a kid.
Libraries are so much more than dusty old books now - meeting space, school holiday programmes, pre-school storytelling, Internet access and books of course! As a writer I LOVE libraries to work in.

I love libraries. You could never have too many of them. That is one place where you can get a book without having to pay for it. And as for the e-readers - sometimes I just prefer real pages than bright light shining in my eyes.
My kids went to the library only yesterday! I was thinking this exact thing though. I wonder how much longer we'll have libraries, whether they'll become a thing of the past or find ways to keep making themselves relevant. I hope the latter!
Agreed all, libraries were my sanctuary as a child too. They are so important!
Yes indeed, sometimes not to hire books, I use my library for printing, photocopying, hiring movies and the internet sometimes
I absolutely love going to the library, and have done ever since I first learnt how to read. You have the chance to browse through both new and old books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, etc, and find new authors to read that you may not have heard of before... When I was at uni, they were also essential- sometimes you need to have referencing sources other than from the Internet, and where better than to find them at the library!
I no longer use a library -or rarely use one, as I work in an op shop and get my books very cheap.

by Finy
As a library member you can also download ebooks, audio books, magazines, newspapers, music, genealogy, etc, all free just like the real items on the shelf. Brisbane City Council has 33 libraries which allow beverages like coffee which is great if you are studying!
by ooo
Definitely. Not a lot but my hubby & I do pay the occasional visit. Sometimes I never even know what item I want until I get there & have a browse. Why buy a book you may only read once or use for a one-off reference when you can borrow it for free. And don't forget the DVDs & CDs you can borrow. You can search for a particular item on their online site and they will then deliver it to a library of your choice for only 80cents ( in Brisbane). What a great service!
I love libraries provided they are stocked up and maintained well. If its a dusty one with the management having no respect towards books and readers, then I'd say rather not have it
As a child I grew up with the libary, my family was large so no money for extra things like books and crafts. I looked forward to getting new books and also going to the craft classes that they held. As an adult I would be lost without my libary. I have ad 4 operations this year and have not been able to work or do my usual activities. The libary has been my life saver, with a collection of DVDs wether music craft movies tv series the list goes on and on, and it's all free. So yes I feel there is a great need for the community to have a libary as it helps so many people , the sick , the poor, students , elderly ect.
Libraries are a great place for many community resources, so yes, we use a library and I think they are still very relevant and needed in our communities.
Libraries are certainly not useless. Although I do not use them as much as I once used to, they are essential for learning.
by Vee
I havent used a library in a few years, however I think they are really needed. I intend to start using my local library much more, it's silly not to in this day and age where things are becoming more expensive and you can use a library services for free.
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