As an avid reader and a self-proclaimed bookworm, I can say that I have found my sacred place: public libraries. Now, don’t read this and shake your head saying “I don’t enjoy reading so this article isn’t for me” because actually, it can be for you. Public libraries are not all about books; they have movies and music and most importantly, they are a great way to socialise. Socialising might seem like an odd one as libraries are usually known for their “NO TALKING” signs, but that isn’t always the case. Public libraries tend to have a lot of activities, from performances to discussion clubs.
1. The Quiet Space
Right after I graduated from university I had to start looking for internships and jobs in the field I studied. As some of you may know it usually takes a lot of time and effort to find a position somewhere you like, right after graduating. It was getting really demotivating to sit at home all day and just applying and applying so I needed to find a different atmosphere that would make me feel like I am doing something productive. Firstly, I thought about going to a café but then realised that I don’t want to be spending all my money on coffee everyday, so I just thought about libraries. I used to go to my university library all the time so why wouldn’t I just go and find a public library near me? It’s free and it is the perfect place to get some work done.
2. The Architecture
So I went to the public library that is nearest to me, and boy, it was everything I ever dreamed of. You enter the big wide doors of an old grand building and the moment you enter the smell of books hit you. The dimmed lights give the place a feeling of wistfulness. I look around and there are a few people quietly rummaging the bookshelves and some just reading. It was mostly elderly people in the library. Some of them knew each other from before and some of them were just reading on their own. It was a community where people found common grounds among books, movies and music. That is when I realised that I have been missing out on this wonderful place for all this time.
3. Free Books!!
I became a member straight away (which is obviously free to do) and borrowed my first book. Getting a book and not paying for it felt crazy! Now, obviously I used to do that at university all the time but they were always books for my dissertation or exams, they were never novels or fictions. As a Londoner I have always spent my lunch breaks and days off walking around bookshops such as Waterstones, Hutchard’s etc. and as any other book lover would do, buy books even though I still have a thousand on my To Be Read list. Which isn’t the wisest thing to do as I no longer have any more space for them and I also probably shouldn’t be spending all my income on books, as there is such things as rent and bills. So this was an incredible solution to my problem.
4. It’s A Nice Getaway
I started going to the library every spare time I had and wrote cover letters, looked for jobs, did some reading and slowly it became my little getaway. The librarians now know me and recommend me more and more books. It is the perfect quiet getaway when you need one.
As Germaine Greer once said “Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark… In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.”