To mark National Libraries Day 2014 we decided to run a social media campaign to help dispel some common misconceptions about libraries. We asked authors, Reading Activists and members of the public to send us photos, poems or short stories showing how libraries are NOT boring, irrelevant, old fashioned, quiet or expensive to join.
Coral sent us this short story about a librarian showing a young person that libraries are definitely not boring.
So you think libraries are boring?
"So you think libraries are boring?" Asked the librarian, staring down into her glasses on the end of her nose.
"Yup." Replied the scruffy schoolgirl standing in front of her.
"Ok then, well I suppose I had better prove you wrong now hadn't I?"
"Whatevs yeah." She shrugged
"And I pressume that translates as a yes." Said the librarian before walking over to a bookshelf on the far side of the room, she summoned the girl to follow her.
"Here is our children's section," she said, motioning towards a small but brightly coloured shelf on the bottom of the shelving unit.
"I'm NOT a kid. I'm a teen actually." The schoolgirl scowled and folded her arms, looking at the shelf with disdain.
"Too right, I wasn't suggesting you were. Come with me please." The librarian traced her finger along the children's books; 'Pony academy'; 'Shiela and the magic unicorns'; 'Rachelina the flower fairy'...'cars'; 'speedy simon'; 'aeroplanes'; 'trevor tractor'; 'spacemen'; 'Mr men'...
"Sooo sexist!" Remarked the schoolgirl under her breath.
"I know! Isn't it just? Just bear with me a second..." The librarian pulled out a book under the title, 'The Toothfairy' or at least that's only what one could assume it said; the 'tooth' part had been vigorously scribbled over in many layers of crayon.
"I'm NOT reading THAT." The schoolgirl looked horrified.
"Well of course not dear!" The librarian chuckled. At this the schoolgirl looked a little puzzled. The librarian stuck her arm out and pressed at the small rectangle of wall visible behind where the book should have been and then started pulling at the shelf. The girl looked even more puzzled.
"Stop looking gormless and help will you?" Said the librarian suddenly. The girl jumped and started feebly tugging at the shelf. "Um...what are we doing exactly?"
"You'll see. You can stop pulling now." The bookshelf was almost perpendicular to the wall and the bare paint looked empty without the books filling it. The librarian touched the wall and to the school girl's amazement dissapeared behind it. "B-bu...hu?" Her mouth dropped open in amazement. After about 30 seconds just stood their staring, she decided to follow her.
Holly had had a long day at work and all she had wanted to do now was have a nice sit down on the sofa with a cuppa; it seemed even the trusty coffee machine had decided to join the league against her. So she had endevoured to go into town to get one in a café, when she realised that she had left her purse in her new coat that had been lost in the chaos of the day, probably in the conference room 3 hours away. Why did things have to go and get themselves lost? A car passed her, spraying cold water over her out of a puddle. It took all Holly's strength not to sit on the ground and throw a wobbly. In fact, it wouldn't have been such a bad thing if she had, because then she might of noticed the voucher for a free coffee in Costa coffee that lay soggy and trampled on the pavement. Instead she crossed the street and went into the library.
This was probably the point that she decided never to work overtime again, because the first thing she saw when she walked in was a young girl walking clean through a wall.
The schoolgirl stopped, she gaped. She turned around and did a double take. She blinked twice, really hard. And then she just stared again. Because she was standing in the largest room she'd ever seen, and every wall was plastered in books! The ceiling stretched higher than she could see and it seemed to go on forever in every direction. The carpet was a rich and velvet red and on it every so often stood ornate desks, ebelished in gold leaf. But what was most exroadinary wasn't the desks or the books or even the size of it all, but the noise! The most exquisite whispers swirled around the room like steam, snipets of knowledge or quotes, extracts of fictional description and the most insiteful poetry; though they were all separate and different in their own way, somehow she was able to listen to all of them at once.
"Do you like it?" Smiled the librarian, appearing in front of her, though the look on her face showed it all.
Join our campaign to dispel common misconceptions about libraries. Email your contribution to Ffion.Dean@readingagency.org.uk or tweet it to @readingagency using #MyLibrary and #NLD14.