Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ticket to Read

One of the themes for Sepia Saturday this week is ‘Library’, and luckily I had this newspaper clipping from about 1985, showing my son and daughter enjoying a storytelling session in Arnold Library, Nottingham, close to their grandparents’ home. We were probably visiting during a school holiday when these activities would be laid on to encourage children’s love of books and reading. My children received lots of encouragement at home and school, but for some children a visit to a lending library would be a rare treat. I asked my parents what they could remember about libraries in the 1920s and they said they were both regular visitors to their local library in Wilford Grove, Nottingham. Books were treasured in my Mum’s family, and her paternal grandfather William, was a great reader all his life. Mum remembers that he always had a stack of library books on the sideboard.

As a child in the 1960s I loved to vist my local libarary in Arnold. It was a much older building than the one in the picture above and I remember it had the inscription Carnegie Library carved above the door. The town had obviously been a beneficary of the charity set up by enlightened philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In those days we were issued with library ‘tickets', and when you took the books of your choice to the desk, the librarian would take the card from the inside the book and insert it into one of your five tickets and into an indexed box. The book would duly be stamped, to be returned in two weeks’ time. I seem to recall that I would be back long before the two weeks was up, eager to make my next choice.

Nautilus Library,  (public domain)
Wikimedia Commins
This week’s second theme was ‘Sleep’ and at first glance I thought the man in this picture had been overcome with tiredness and succumbed to a crafty ‘fortywinks’. I was pleased that I had found a picture to cover both themes in one. On closer inspection he appears to be either dead or dying, as his companion seems to be overcome with grief. In which case, I submit that it was probably Colonel Mustard with a spanner in the Library whodunnit. Don’t tell me you’ve never played Cluedo! The engraving, by Hetzel, is from the original '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, so make your own mind up who it is and what has happened. I resisted the urge to write a caption, but please don’t let it stop you from having a go.

Carl Spitzweg (public domain)
Wikipedia Commons








Libraries like this one, on the right, often appear in old paintings, and I particularly like this example as it demonstrates the lengths, quite literally, to which a booklover will go to find the volume he is seeking.

He seems to suffer from the same affliction I have myself whenever I delve into my own home library. I start looking for a particular item and find myself sidetracked by some other tantalising morsel of information. 'The Bookworm' here depicted is engrossed in one book, whilst clasping another, with two further volumes, one wedged under his arm and another clasped between his knees. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I admire the fact that he thought to take a cloth with which to attack the dusty tomes. He clearly doesn’t have vertigo as the ladder is taller than it appears. Turning round and descending unscathed may prove to be tricky!


I started today’s post with children in a library, and to complete the circle, here is one I took in the library of one of my schools about ten years ago. Libraries in small schools tend to be multi-use but there are library sessions timetabled in every week. The old ticket system has gone, just as it has in public libraries, and the pupils self register on the computer and scan the barcodes of the books they are borrowing. This is the age of iPads and Kindles, but I don’t believe these will supersede real books. There will always be the magic of turning a printed page to see what happens next in a story, or discover some new fact. ‘Flicking through’ a book to skim through the pictures and text, or turning to the back cover to read the ‘blurb' and find out about the author, are all part of the library experience.

Please don’t try this in your local library!


For more ways to enjoy the library visit my bookloving friends over at Sepia Saturday before you go to sleep.


22 comments:

  1. Libraries used to be magic places to me. It's sad that kids get all their information from the internet because it means they stay at home and don't get to experience the atmosphere of a library.

    There again, libraries have changed and are no longer like the wonderful one in the painting, with the man up the ladder. (Not that I ever saw a library exactly like that, but I knew some that had that kind of almost magical atmosphere)

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  2. I had the privilege while still at school to act as the library assistant issuing books to adult readers. In a small village it meant I had time to read their books as well. This year the Books and Banter group I belong to at the Stockton library was joined by a class of school children. It was fascinating to see how keen they were to get involved with a children's author.

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  3. I really miss the old library system of stamping the cards and sticking them in the pocket of the book. Scanning just isn't the same, somehow.
    Loved the book "domino" video. That was fantastic.
    Nancy

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  4. Nice story! I wonder if kids will still read books in 30 years from now ...

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  5. My first job was as a page in a library (no joke, that's what we were called). I put the books back on the shelves, and put magazines in protective covers.

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  6. Very evocative. When I was a child, I too was a great reader, and was forever at the Lancaster childrens' library taking out as many books as possible. I distinctly remember one Saturday reading all the books I had got in the morning, and returning them to the library in the afternoon to be told I couldn't have more on the same day. Ididn't, and still don't understand why. It ws probably my first encounter with a jobsworth.

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  7. When I was in elementary school, our classes had assigned library days. I so loved the year I was selected to be the librarian's helper. I got to sit behind the tall desk and stamp the books that my classmates were checking out. I also got to put returned books back on the shelf. Either no one cared about order or they thought I was smart and reliable, not sure which.

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  8. I was surprised to learn that Clue came from England and is called Cluedo there. I also didn't know that there are Carnegie libraries in countries other than the U.S.

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  9. A tour-de-force as usual. Oh I remember those old library tickets, they were made out of thick cardboard and I suspect glued together by hand. Not that I ever got to take them home to examine them in too much detail, once handed them on returning my books I would immediately hand them back on taking out another pile.

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  10. One of my favorite pastimes is visiting libraries, especially new to me. Thanks for sharing these, and that very cool video! Where can I go to check out a book?! ha ha!

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  11. Yes it is said the libraries are not as popular for borrowing books as they are for the use of the computer there. I just read The World Book Encyclopedia will not be published in the future.
    QMM

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  12. If I'd had the opportunity I would have happily become a librarian. The Carl Spitzweg picture is one of my favourites because it so reminds me of my father.

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  13. Wow- you covered both themes in one post and I couldn't find naught for neither. Enjoyed reading your entry!

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  14. Your family have obviously inherited the reading gene :-) I like the old Carnegie libraries - they're usually nice, square solid-looking buildings. We didn't get to visit our library often as it was quite far away. Our village has weekly visits from mobile library van so now the kids that live rurally, like I did, have access to new books every week.

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  15. If I hadn't been forced to give up some of my books as I moved throughout the years I think I could have had a library like the man on the ladder. If I had had a house with ceilings that high.

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  16. My boys love the library - Jake took out his full quota 2 days ago and has read them all already! I used to adore being allowed to stamp my books in our tiny local one when I was small - no can do on the high desk at our city library these days though.

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  17. I've always enjoyed visiting the library and read most every book at my school and church libraries when I was a child. As wonderful as online media resources can be, I don't think they will ever replace books. There's just something about holding a book while you read it that a Kindle can't replicate.

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  18. I could probably play library dominoes all round my house! LOL

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  19. Nell, this is such a wonderful post! I bet that your kids were so excited to be featured in the newspaper. I agree with you that books won't be replaced.

    Kathy M.

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  20. I did not post with the Sepias this week but I like you grew up devoted to my local library. And I love that bookworm and your explanation. I do the very same thing in my own library, fortunately I do not have to climb a ladder, but I can get side tracked in the books. Fun post.

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  21. A bit of detective work (you know me) reveals that the men depicted in the Nautilus Library were suffocating.

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  22. Now is that the son who grew up to be a smart person at solving mysteries? Thank you so much for solving the mystery on my blog, I'm absolutely thrilled (and I must say very slightly relieved) to hear his explanation. I'm also fascinated to see more about this church. A private church. This is most unusual and not something I've heard of before. So far, I have only clicked on the one link your brilliant son supplied, but I think the idea of a private church is most interesting - the history behind it, I mean - and so I'm going to look up more about it.
    Have a great Easter!

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