I went to the library on Thursday, in a desperate attempt to educate myself.
I am a big supporter of libraries - for those of you not in the UK, our government is planning to close a lot of our libraries in a rather foolish attempt to save money - uhh, free books? What's not to love. We're in a recession, no one has any money, university education suddenly costs an absolute fortune, so we need to be able to educate ourselves in the cheapest manner possible. Books, free ones, from the library. You have to give them back, admittedly, but they're still free.
I was complaining about the price of paperbacks in the staffroom at work the other day (£10, for a paperback? really?), in a debate about books vs. ebooks, and I was told to "just go to the library" if I didn't want to buy books. It's not that I don't want to buy books, I can't afford to buy the amount of books I read! I read a lot of books, I'm a very fast reader and although I haven't had much time recently, I get through books pretty quickly. If it takes you 3 months to read the paperback that you've spent a tenner on, well that's not so bad, but when you've finished in it in a couple of hours, well then you have to buy another one! And it spirals out of control from there. Anyway.
I go to the library, I've been going to the library ever since I can remember. I'll say again, free books! What's not to love? I didn't have that many friends as a kid, but I did read a lot of books. I can remember crying over Charlotte's Web and Goodnight Mister Tom, marvelling over What Katy Did, Little Women and The Borrowers.
My tastes have matured a little over the years (only very slightly mind you, I still love The Borrowers and Goodnight Mister Tom), and this week I was looking for classics. I've been a bit of a book rut of late, only reading crime fiction, and I wanted to read some of the books I'd never read. I was looking for something amazing, Kerouac, Wilde, you get the picture, and I was saddened to find nothing of the sort. Endless copies of Katie Price books, but I couldn't find On The Road anywhere. Nor any of the classics actually. I tried to kid myself that the townspeople, in a similar bid to better themselves, had rented them all (in the same why I try to convince myself that the reason I can only find size 8's in clothes shops is because size 14 is clearly the most popular, average size) but this is probably highly unlikely.
So this is a plea, to the people in charge of our country's libraries, don't close the libraries to save money, save money by buying less trashy books, and splurge on ones that will better our community. We don't need to encourage the youth of today to be like Katie Price. We need better role models and better books.
If you have a recommendation of something I should read in my quest to broaden my knowledge and become "well read" please don't hesitate to share.