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Libraries no longer a quiet refuge

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Bungie, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Bungie

    Bungie New commenter

    An article in this week's TES bemoans the lack of libraries for youngsters from large families who need a quiet place to study. Libraries used to provide a quiet refuge in a noisy world. Not anymore. They are now noisy, filled with selfish people (and sometimes even more selfish librarians) who talk loudly, make intrusive phone calls, and allow their badly-behaved kids to run riot.
     
  2. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    What's a library? So many have closed in this county. Or are 'run' by volunteers.
     
  3. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    Gone are the days when on a winter's afternoon, after being thrown out of the pub at 3.30 p.m., you could go to the library to read some Adrian Henri poetry, fall asleep in a corner and be kicked out just in time for the pub re-opening at 5.30 p.m.

    Where now for the lovelorn Bohemian?
     
    bevdex, lardylady, Bungie and 3 others like this.
  4. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    The last time I visited a library, it was to help me better understand a mental health condition that one of my residents suffers from.

    I asked the volunreer librarian if they had any books about paranoia and was somewhat taken aback when she said "They're behind you."
     
    cassandramark2, lanokia and chelsea2 like this.
  5. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Surprisingly, there hasn't been an occasion I've ever visited a library and found any books on shelves.

    There's an opportunity in the book market for a budding author to exploit, if ever I saw one.
     
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I use the library regularly - and not just the nearest one - and I find them quiet and full of books. Strange, reading this....o_O
     
    lindenlea and smoothnewt like this.
  7. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Ours, as have so many, has turned into a Community Hub. It houses the post office, council booths, a children's area in which there is no expectation of quiet reading, and a massive array of computers. It seems largely inhabited now by unemployed people using the free Internet for job searches and/or benefits, and the users with small children seem, if comments from other users are anything to go by, angrily entitled to completely ignore their offspring in the process.

    We seldom use it as a library anymore, other than for borrowing books we take back to our nice quiet homes to read.
     
    Bungie likes this.
  8. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Our local library is housed in the old rectory and remains an oasis of calm withdrawal. These days it’s only open three days a week, but that is something of a miracle in these times of council hard times - given that it is a small branch library in the orbit of the central borough library.
    I use it on a regular basis on my quest to read 50 books this year. I’m always filled with nostalgia for the days when my girls were small and we’d bike up there to change their books every Saturday.
    If it does ever close it will be such a blow!
     
    bombaysapphire and FrankWolley like this.
  9. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    I have mixed feelings about this. I did love the library as a calm and quiet refuge to browse and choose books and spend a peaceful half hour. But I do enjoy seeing toddlers being introduced to books and enjoying story time with their carers, or a group of children discussing a story and making collages or models linked to it. So many of our children spend half their lives attached to screens - if their parents are willing to take them or let them go to the library to spend time surrounded by the wonderful world of books, that can't be a bad thing.
     
    littlejackhorner and FrankWolley like this.
  10. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Yes, libraries have changed, but they have done so in order to remain open. The county I live in has a system called "Open Library" which means you can let yourself in when it's not staffed, such as on a Sunday, and it's always very peaceful then.
    I like seeing them being used and would rather encourage the noise than stifle it.
     
    peter12171 likes this.
  11. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I go to our library to pick up the choir scores that the wonderful county Music dept find for us. It saves me so much work. They have gone down the Community Hub line too, but it is still fairly calm. I do struggle to find an actual librarian though. It is staffed by volunteers and part timers who always seem to be on "my first day"
     
  12. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Ours does put on activities for children, especially over the holidays. They last 1-2hrs and the children are accompanied by parents who chose the activity. The screeching and running around is by the offspring of parents who have no intention of occupying or controlling them.

    I wonder they don't just partition off the computer area from the library and provide some sort of play area.
     
    Bungie likes this.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    If you want a place to sit and read which is not at home, has comfortable chairs, and is completely silent for hours on end, you could always try the staff room.
     
  14. Bungie

    Bungie New commenter

    I disagree with the notion that libraries have changed to remain open. It is precisely because they are now noisy and chaotic that real book lovers have stopped using them. It is so very, very sad. My parents were not rich or educated, but the regular visits to the library - first as an accompanied child, and later as an unaccompanied teenager and adult - changed my life. Interestingly, as my mother grew older and her social activities were constrained through illness, I accompanied her to the library in a kind of role reversal of what she did with me as a child. Time spent in libraries in calmness and serenity is a precious, beautiful memory.
     
  15. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    I loved visiting the library with my dad every Saturday. I started going with him before I could read. He would sit with me in the childrens section and look at Beatrix Potter books. I loved the illustrations. I would sit on my own for a bit, still looking at books while he chaged his books. Mum never came with us. I once asked her why and she said she liked to go alone in the evening for an hour of peace and sanity.
     
    smoothnewt likes this.
  16. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    One of my earliest memories is of my Nan taking me to the local library . It was a thrill to choose books and take them home.My Dad used to read to me every night. I can still hear his voice. Alison in Wonderland was and still is magical for me.

    I research the books in the catalogue of my local library the availability and am in / out in minutes. Invariably there is some sort of activity ( games !? ) in progress / being set up and it is increasingly populated by people who find it totally appropriate to talk loudly / conduct a conversation. I understand that libraries serve other functions these days or risk not existing at all but I too miss the serenity and the sense of awe that the purpose / building as a very young child projected.

    Learning to read was the greatest thing I have ever done
     
    smoothnewt likes this.
  17. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Better to be run by volunteers than be closed.
    Libraries are used to introduce children to books - so many of them don't bother to read; so many of them are given a smart phone or a tablet before they even leave the pushchair.
    Libraries are used to introduce children to rhyme, poetry, stories.
    Libraries are being used for book clubs, and other events or activities for the local community.
    If you want a quite place to read a book, then take books out of the libary and take them home to read.
     
    nomad likes this.
  18. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    The main library near me has a study zone upstairs where quiet is fairly rigorously enforced. Downstairs can be quite noisy.
     
    nomad and ShowerGel like this.
  19. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Hehe
    That really is a sit com writer's itch waiting to be scratched...
     
  20. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    It's the same in ours, although to be frank, downstairs isn't overly noisy. Downstairs has been largely given over to technological media. Music, videos and talking books, all of which have their place as a means of communication, particularly for those unable to read, by which I don't just mean the illiterate, but those with failing eyesight.

    Although I was never without a book to read up until around 25 years ago, I've largely changed my habits since the Internet became available. I still read as much as ever, possibly far more these days, I much prefer finding things to capture my interest online.
     

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