Saturday, 30 March 2013

God bless our libraries

Many, many years ago, when BFTF was perhaps 7 years old, BFTF's father came home one day with a small brown card and told BFTF that this was BFTF's card for the mobile library that parked by the school once a week.

"Wow !" thought BFTF, and was very soon a regular visitor to the mobile library, and particularly recalls going through every single Doctor Who and Asterix book that it held, and noted there seemed to be a disproportionate number of large print books, which BFTF ignored.

Eventually BFTF outgrew the mobile library and started using the proper local library, which was perhaps a mile and a half away. Again, BFTF was a regular visitor, reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and can remember lugging quite a heavy load of books - either on foot or by bike - to the library every two weeks. Roddy and the Roadmen featured heavily, as did Doctor Who and anything to do with planes, trains or automobiles or space.

Ok, so I lied about the trains.

BFTF also recalls reading every childrens geography book that the library held (perhaps you can recall the ones, that had agricultural maps with icons for wheat production, beef farming etc, and industrial maps with icons for coal mining and centres of manufacturing activity)

BFTF kept reading the likes Leon Uris, Isaac Asimov (The Bicentennial Man is one heck of a novella), Beryl Bainbridge (somewhat surprisingly) as well as a lot of non-fiction right up to the moment of entering University, when, for reasons that are still unclear, BFTF lost interest in reading books (although still read newspapers etc) and didn't really start reading again for some 15 years.

Weird eh?

Although, to be fair, there was a brief but intense flirtation with Terry Pratchett at some point along the line.

Second time around, BFTF really wasn't that interested in fiction, feeling that no politican ever changed their policies because of what some fictional book had to say, which takes us not far from the present day.

Aside from their wonderfullness as a place of learning and imagination, libraries are also a great indicator of tolerance, of a society that is confident enough to allow the voices of many points of view to be heard.

To take the story full circle, BFTF was recently reading Asterix and Cleopatra with No3 Son. We both agreed that Cleopatra did indeed have a very pretty nose.

God bless our libraries

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