A library is like having the internet in a building. If you can imagine it, chances are someone has written about it. And in the same way that clicking a link brings something new, each shelf or room in a library offers more and more new discoveries for the curious mind.
If you think a library is a dusty old building full of old people telling you to shush, where all you can do is get a book…then think again.
I was going to a flowery, romantic piece about how brilliant libraries are, how they open portals to other worlds found only in books, are a playground for the imagination, and can take you to places you might never visit. But, while all of that might be true, the reality is the Library Service speaks for itself on a much more practical level.
What my library card does
Think about it for a minute.
- It’s free to join.
- You can borrow up to 12 items at any one time, and keep them for 3 weeks…for free
- You can reserve another 12…for free
- You can check, reserve and renew online…for free
- You can borrow books…for free
- If your local library hasn’t got the book you want, you can put in a request – Wicklow is part of new national system, so you can get books from all over the country….for free
- You can download audio books…for free
- You can get audio books on CD…for free
- You can download E-books…for free
- You can download magazines using the Zinio for libraries app…for free
- You can access online newspapers available to the library…for free
- You can borrow DVDs…for free
- You can borrow CDs…for free
That’s just the stuff you take away from the library!
Stay in the library and –
- You get free wi-fi, and use of computers
- There is study space if you are a student – quiet space for homework
- You can sign up for, and take, e-learning classes (Not available in all of Wicklow’s libraries)
- You can sit and read a magazine or newspaper freely available for all
- There are places to find out about your local, and sometimes, family history
- All libraries tend to have story time events for little ones, so a great place for both parents and children to meet with friends
- There are book clubs for adult, teens and junior readers
- There are different holiday activities including arts & crafts or different workshops (check your local library for dates of different events)
- Blessington Library for example, hosts a lego club, autism support and citizens advice among its services.
- It is also a great place to find out about local services on the various posters and flyers on the notice boards
- You get REALLY friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff
And you know the jokes about FINES? If you are late, they only charge 5 cent per day. So if you were a week late it would be 7days x5cent =35cent. That is a fair deal by any standard.
Where can I join?
We are well served for libraries in Wicklow. There are ten around the county, and if you can’t get out to a library, or there is none near you, Wicklow has a mobile unit that travels to different locations right around the county.
A tiny bit of history
I got my love of reading from my dad. I fed that love through the library in Enniskerry. Another reason I’m fond of that library in Enniskerry is because it’s a Carnegie library. One of three in Wicklow (Bray and Greystones are the other two). I love that fact, because Carnegie libraries are names after Andrew Carnegie from Scotland who made his fortune in America, and one of the ways he shared his wealth was by building almost 3000 public libraries around the world.
A short flowery bit
If I was king of the world, I’d give everyone a library card. Of course, it would be a little unnecessary because, everyone can already get a library card for free, or at least they can in Co Wicklow.
Libraries are for everyone. They don’t discriminate. Whether you are a millionaire who could buy their own library, or a poor family that can’t afford to buy a single book, your library card entitles you to the same service, the same welcome and the same experience.
Books broaden our horizons. They are the gateways to possibility and potential. So libraries are like a great bunch of keys to a humongous number of gateways…yeah, too much!!
Join your local library. You’ll never regret it.