I have a love affair with books. Be it hard-back or paperback, the feel of a book in my hands while reading is a long term pleasure. I only wish I could read faster and hence devour more words.
I tend not to buy fiction as I haven’t got the time to re-read many books and keeping large numbers of books takes up lots of space. In Canberra I am fortunate to have access to the wonderful, comprehensive ACT Library Service and their most helpful and friendly staff. There are many things I don’t particularly like about services of the ACT Government but the library service always exceeds my expectations.
Despite cutbacks that affect all government services, the ACT’s libraries have managed to strike a balance that should please most users. Sometimes I wish they had longer opening hours but as a retired person I can manage with the periods they operate.
At one time I felt there was too much effort and resources in computer facilities rather than books. However, I have noticed that most computers are in pretty constant use even in these days when many people have home access to a computer.
The range available is very eclectic. Popular new titles are usually bought in sufficient numbers that you don’t need to wait long for a particular title. The system where you can recommend a title be purchased is good. Even better the request system for obtaining books from other locations is very efficient with notification when available for collection at your nominated library. The restriction to two-week loans for popular new titles means the books circulate quickly.
The library caters for people with difficulties with reading with the availability of large print books, books for vision impaired, tapes of audio books (great for a long car trip), as well as videos covering a vast range of material including popular films.
One particular pleasure I witness is the popular sessions for young children being introduced to books and reading with interactive story-telling sessions. The library staff who do this are terrific and it is great to see the pleasure on the faces of the small children (and their parents). Hopefully these sessions, plus parental enthusiasm and guidance, will engender a life-long interest in reading and the written word.
I was listening to one of these sessions this week when among other activities some nursery rhyme books with pictures were being read (and sung). Even after 60 plus years I found I still knew most of the words.
Long live the ACT library service and I trust that they will continue to be given sufficient funds to continue their sterling and vital work.