Friday, June 23, 2006
Use it or lose it!The BBC has an interesting article on the loss of local libraries.
I can't comment on my "local" library, but I visit my city's Central library to replenish my stock of novels at least monthly. As a child, highlight of the week was Monday night, when my sister and I would be taken to the library. I couldn't wait to get my own library card (you had to share your parent's card those days until you were eight). When I did, I would fill it (6 books) and beg my Dad to let me get more out on his card. I would rarely need to renew un-read books at my next visit.
However, I see less and less children reading these days. As a child I would sit on the side of the swimming pool waiting for my younger sister's lesson to finish and mine to start and would invariably amuse myself with a good book. Over the past few months I have seen literally dozens of children in a similar position waiting for a sibling's badminton lesson to finish - yet I don't think I have ever seen any of them reading! They either sit zonked out in front of the cartoons or they run riot.
Very often, their parents are present - but very few of them ever read anything either, prefering to gossip or whinge. I suppose if Mum and Dad never read, their kids probably won't either.
Interestingly, I have seen some interesting examples of why you should never judge a book by it's cover (pardon the pun). Of the many regular parents that I see, only a couple read novels whilst they are waiting. The most prolific readers are perhaps the least expected. One example is a low-income, single father who works as a cleaner. He speaks very slowly and counts the lesson fee out with great care. It is easy to make assumptions about him (and I confess, I did at first) - yet he sits in the quietest part of the centre, and in the months that I have worked there has worked his way through pretty much every John Grisham novel in the catalogue. We've been sharing authors, as he is now looking for someone new. He comes twice a week and I never see him reading the same book twice, so he obviously rattles through them at a fair pace. On the other hand, there are several wealthy mothers. They are the owners of the Mercedes convertibles or top-of-the-range people carriers that sometimes grace our car park. Their kids have 2 or 3 high-quality badminton rackets and expensive purpose-built racket bags. Reading matter of choice? "Take a break" Magazine.
FOR YOUR PERUSAL