A love letter to libraries for #LibraryShelfieDay

Ex Children’s Librarian, and Read for Good’s Schools’ Project Officer, Tash Hyde, shares her love of libraries for #LibraryShelfieDay

Public libraries, no longer the silent domain for the studious. Now they are a riot of buzzing activity, the shelves full of tempting wonder, toddlers singing and shaking their shakers, knitting needles clacking, people chatting and so much more. And in this time of people wondering how they are going to afford the essentials, let alone the luxury of a brand new book, they are also free, warm and welcoming.

Did you know that anyone living in the UK is legally entitled to borrow books for free from public libraries? Free to join, free to use, free to share a book with your baby, free to find a new bedtime story, free to entice your teenager, free to sit and just be. Where else can you spend a day with award winning authors and illustrators and also take them home?

Did you know that when you borrow a book from the library, the author gets a payment? What better reason to take home a huge variety of books, by borrowing you are also supporting the authors who poured their hearts into writing your books. It’s a win, win!

In the library you can choose a book by its cover, by the blurb, by the size, by the shape – the choice is yours! And there are so many to choose from. I could go on… as an ex-children’s librarian I find it incredibly powerful that children have the freedom to read any book they like the look, feel or sound of. The wonder of walking into a place where you can borrow any book you wish, where the staff are ready to share their knowledge and passion and where everyone is welcome. A library truly is a gateway to the world and we should celebrate them, treasure them and love them.

Reading has the power to change lives and libraries are there to help you do that. Choosing a book from a library opens up endless possibilities – no reading schemes, no comprehension, no fixed number of pages to read. The choice is yours. A library can give you freedom to explore, to find who you are and who you want to be. Reading has lifelong benefits, it’s a super power. It’s great for your mental health, it helps your brain, it develops your language, it improves your focus, it develops your empathy and can help your attainment across all subjects. And whilst many of us would love to be able to buy all those shiny new books out there it’s just not always possible. So take yourself, your baby, your toddler, your tween, your teen and foster a love of reading and libraries. 

Read for Good has the same ethos – we champion choice. Through the hospital programme, children are free to choose their book from the trolley. Through Brilliant Box of Books we send out an amazing and diverse selection of books to schools and community settings. Through Readathon, children are encouraged to read for pleasure – whether it’s a comic, a picture book, a celebrity author or an instruction manual – anything goes!

So if you are looking for a good read, somewhere warm to go or wanting to discover more about the world, why not try visiting your local library? It may surprise you.