Books have always been a part of me, and so have libraries. My Dad's a librarian, so they were always bound to be an important aspect of my life. From a financial viewpoint, without libraries I wouldn't have a roof over my head or food on th table. Please spare a thought for those who could become unemployed during hard financial times should our libraries close.
My personal obsession with libraries started young. I used to visit the local library with my Mum to pick out my favourite books and as I grew up I became an avid fan of the mobile library that stopped down our street. In primary school I was a library prefect along with my best friend. Our job was to look after the books (including reepairing them), make sure they were returned on time, stamp them and shelve them. I really felt that I was helping the school by doing this job since the pupils needed the library for reference books as well as a literary education.
When I was at secondary school the local library became a place to hang out and wait for my mum to finish work. This allowed us to have some quality time together walking home, going out for coffee or going swimming. I used the librar computers to access the internet and enjoyed browsing the shelves for undiscovered treasures. I did my homework on the large tables that they provided and made use of reference books which we didn't have at home.
During sixth forrm I used the library to access maps for my coursework. And, of course, I continued to enjoy reading fiction books.
Whilst at university discovered the joys of a really big public library. With a small flat and little money it was impossible to buy all the books I wanted to read. Almost all my reading, therefore, was in the form of library books. I went regularly between and after classes and soon I had read nearly all the science fiction books.
The library also helped me to find funding during my gap year through its register of organisations with grants.
Nowadays I visit the library less often (I am lucky to be able to store plenty of books I want to read and get more through bookcrossing), but it is still an important part of my life. I buy cheap books to bookcross, especially those which I have already enjoyed reading. I check the shelves for books which online bookclubs I belong to are reading. I ocassionally pop in when I'm passing to see if they have the next book in a series or a random book I might enjoy. And I check the noticeboard in the foyer to see if there are community events that I am interested in.
For me the library has been a source of books when there were none, I place to relax and wait when I needed it, an educationally tool essential to my schooling and a source of information. Of course these are not the only uses of the library- my local also has story-teller, children's holiday clubs and DVD rental to name a few- but they are the ones that have been most important to me.
How has the library impacted your life?