Loving My New Local Library…

I am a huge fan of the library. When I was younger I regularly found myself ensconced in whichever library was my most local (as we moved around a bit) and being surrounded by all those books, which all had a sense of both mystery and adventure around them, would make me feel at home. They were also where I got most of my reading took place or came from, we might visit the book shop once a month but it was a real treat to actually get a brand new book. So whenever I move to somewhere new the library is one of the first places I check out.

I actually joined my local library, which happens to be Birkenhead Library, before I had even moved to the Wirral and to Oxton. You see when I started seeing The Beard he had a big operation and so I offered to look after him which meant moving in for two weeks (nothing tests a relationship early on like one of you being ill and cabin fever setting in as you can’t go anywhere or really do anything, ha) and so I knew, as I couldn’t possibly pack two weeks’ worth of books at short notice, that I would have to join the library. I have to say from a certain someone’s description I didn’t expect much but when I arrived I was immediately bowled over by the wonderful building itself.

As you can see it is a rather grand building with huge columns that remind you of a mixture of stately home and Greek Temple. I had high hopes at the size of it alone, and I guess the grandeur added to that. So in I went full of hope and headed to the fiction section.

I have to say I was initially a little dismayed. There seemed to be a great horror section, great sci-fi section, wonderful crime section but the general fiction left a little to be desired. Whilst there were some wonderful new hardbacks the shelves were also lined with a lot of older hardbacks and not a paperback in sight. All my hopes were dashed until I turned the final shelf and was greeted by this…

I don’t think I have ever seen such a long line of shelves of fiction books in a library before. Oh, and bear in mind that this doesn’t include the crime, sci-fi or horror I mentioned before, or indeed Classics and short story collections which have their own separate shelves too. Thank goodness that chair was there as I had to sit down.

Now as it has been some time since I first went, and I meant to blog about it then actually, I thought I would share with you the last ‘library loot’ that I picked up there a week or so ago (note Oscar decided to get in on the act)…

The fact I managed to get my mitts on so many Man Booker  longlisted novels (I have reported back on Deborah Levy’s ‘Swimming Home’ only so far as I am eking out my reviews at the moment) so easily really impressed me as these have been like gold dust in the past. The Niccolo Ammaniti I just fancied as I have meant to read more of him and ‘Ransom’ by David Malouf has been much raved about by my mother. I was also, as I am sure you can imagine, in Mitford ecstasies when I spotted Nancy’s ‘Talent to Annoy’ collection of essays which I am currently dipping in and out of when I ventured into the endless non-fiction section. It is honestly a gem of a library.

I have been wondering if I should follow suit of the lovely Eva, who is a brilliant example of a library lover and user, and start doing video posts as she does when I have been and brought back a bundle, though I have no idea how you do this, what do you think? Also, have you read any of the books I am borrowing and if so what did you think? What wonderful finds have you discovered at your library recently?


Filed under Random Savidgeness

18 responses to “Loving My New Local Library…

  1. I am a faithful library patron. I don’t know what I would do without my very lovely local library. A few years back I decided that I had to stop buying books as I was burying my family and quickly running out of space (and money!) The inter-library loan program is FANTASTIC, I can acquire almost any book I want/NEED to read.

    I’m here via Laura @ Musings. I’m so glad she pointed me in the direction of your blog!

    Happy reading,
    The Relentless Reader

    • You see I am so jealous of the whole inter-library loan thing that you have going on in the states. Here, well it depends on the county you are in, but if you want a book from another library (even if it down the road) then you have to pay for it to be delivered, cheeky huh?

      Oh and thank you for popping by and saying hello Jennifer, hope to see you more often.

  2. We live in a small village in rural France, so the local library is rather small and of course geared mainly to French speakers. So we have become members of all the libraries in the neighbouring villages (four at last count), plus of course the two school libraries (French school and once-weekly English school). So we are well equipped with books, although not necessarily the ones we most want to read. The good thing about this is that it forces us to explore things we would perhaps normally ignore.

    • Hahahaha thats brilliant, the more libraries the merrier I say regardless of if you are only joining for the language issues. I was a member of both Stockport libraries and Manchester libraries, now I suppose I should join Liverpool library as well as I do go in now and again.

  3. I am a big fan of libraries. My current local library is actually the main library of San Francisco. What it lacks in charm (as it lies in the epicenter of our large homeless population), it makes up for in its huge collection, especially its shelves (and shelves) of contemporary fiction in French.

    • Ha it seems you would really like it in the libraries where Marina (above you ) is. I am so envious of people who can read in multiple languages as I would love to but I am rubbish at languages. I tried to learn Brazilian Portuguese for my ex and it just didn’t work. I am a hopeless case language wise.

  4. Ruthiella

    I have two local libraries at my disposal, which is helpful because sometimes one has a particular book I am looking for that the other doesn’t. Unfortunately, one is also undergoing a severe budget crisis and is already operating under reduced hours, which makes me sad. I do love libraries and like you, I used them quite a bit as a child/teen, since buying books at that time just wasn’t done…in fact, I don’t recall ever being in a book store until I was an adult. The only new books I got were either gifts or purchased through the scholastic reader program at my elementary school.
    I’ve not read any of the books you checked out, but am very interested in reading Ransom now that I have listened to The Readers September 2012 Book Club podcast and your mother’s enthusiasm for that book.
    I think a library loot post vlog like Eva does would be fantastic. Do you think you could keep Oscar on your lap the whole time the way Eva has her dog Thistle 🙂 (seriously, one of the luckiest dogs in the world)?

    • Ha! Oscar is actually sat in my arms as I type this. Making typing a little difficult. So I think a vlog post with him on could be possible, did you see I did one a week or two ago?

  5. Kristen M.

    My local library is okay but it’s in a countywide library system that is amazing. We can request any book from any library for free and it shows up at the local branch within a couple of days. And there have been only one or two books over the years that they actually didn’t have. Because of this, I tend to request books online and then go pick up a batch when they’re ready.
    p.s. Your library’s building is gorgeous! Has it always been a library?

    • Jealousy increases every time I hear about these inter library loans. It just isn’t done here at all.

      I don’t know the history of the library building actually. I will have to check that out and get back to you. I did forget to say that The Beards mother helped create the huge stain glass window that it has at the front… oops.

  6. what a great looking library simon ,all the best stu

  7. Geraldine

    Where I am currently living I have no access to a public library and I greatly miss this so I depend on book blogs such as your wonderful one for reviews as I like to read recent releases and I purchase books through The Book Depository. I haven’t read any of your library books but have read the first 3 of Niccolo Ammaniti which I enjoyed very much and will be purchasing Me and You. His first one I’m Not Scared was made into a movie . I have read David Malouf’s Conversations at Curlow Creek and highly recommend it.

    • I heard about another Malouf book on A Good Read on BBC4 here in the UK the other day and it sounded like another incredible read so I think he could be an author that I need to get much better acquainted with. I must read more Ammaniti too.

  8. You know I’m a public library enthusiast and it is very nice to see your post on the matter. My wife bought and read Skios recently so I have it in my house. What did I find recently? The Sonatine for Flute and Piano (1943) by Henri Dutilleux. Rather beyond my ability at the moment!

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