Hey cHEwY gum gums!

Last Friday was not only Valentine’s Day, but Library Lovers Day too. It’s a chance to acknowledge the hard work librarians and library staff do all across Australia. It’s quite fitting that the new Oz Children’s Laureate, Ursula Dubosarsky is encouraging people to join their public libraries. Where ever I go around Australia, I’m always hunting for them because I love doing my writing in there 🙂

So why do libraries rock? Well, they’re FREE! Let me explain…

Free books (and more)

I know, I know…DUH!

But it’s funny how people tend to gloss over this. But borrowing books save you moolah. Don’t worry, I won’t feel offended if you borrow my books hehe. I have nephews who gobble up books. Like, they’re the kind who would buy a bunch of books from the shops and devour them that night. So now they go to the library to borrow them.

It’s not just books though, there are magazines, comics, audio books, DVDs and CDs too. Yeah, libraries are one of the few places where physical media is loved and valued.

If you’re more into e-books, then there’s the massive e-book library that you can access from home. Yes, those books can be downloaded onto your device and then it’ll disappear when they’re due. Easy-as.

Free space!

I love seeing how libraries have evolved in the public sphere. They’re no longer boring dungeons of dread. There are some splendidly designed libraries, with plenty of open spaces, comfy seating and a welcoming vibe. The ‘Birds Nest’ Sydney Library in Darling Quarter is a great example. Forget trying to get people to borrow books, just get them in there first. The ‘internet cafe’ phase of libraries may be over, but free wi-fi means people can use their devices to their heart’s content.

The best public libraries are the ones that adapt to their surroundings. There are plenty of multi-language books, CDs and DVDs that older folk could borrow.

Yes, it may feel a little weird sometimes to go into a library and see almost everyone on their devices. And the Grumpy Old Man Phommavanh in me comes out when I see students invading every free space with their stuff, doing everything except studying…but at least they’re surrounded by books. You never know, people may pick up one and read it.

Free events!

Speaking about getting people to visit libraries…there are so many cool events happening each and every week, and most of them are free. Parents may know about the weekly story time sessions, but there are events to cater for all ages and stages. I’ve taken part in many school holiday writing workshops. Libraries also host plenty of author events, and play a huge part in writers festivals, especially regional ones like Write Around the Murray in Albury. Alison Lester had a full house doing her story time. Albury’s library is combined with a cool cafe, youth space and a performance area. Just wow wow wow.

So check up on your local public library and see what’s going on. Or better yet, go down in person and check it out yourself. You’d be surprised with what kind of things and services they offer. So just like Ursula says, JOIN THE LIBRARY! And I want to add to that…IT’S FREE hehe

O.W