Fall In Love With Libraries

Just like books are a man’s best friend…ofcourse apart from pets and plants, libraries are a shangri-la for book enthusiasts!

How many of you have old membership cards for libraries? I am sure if you are a bibliophile, you would have preserved them. They are a storehouse of memories for most of us. All emotions gush out the moment you mention that you are a book lover to a fellow book lover. I am sure by now you would have gone down the nostalgia lane too! 

Libraries have been an eternal spot for romance! Aha! You literally did imagine a romantic scene, right? You and your special one holding hands while reading a book. Or perhaps taking sneak-peaks at your crush while reading books. Well, for bookworm like me, romance with books meant more of falling in love with characters in the book, the smell of old books and the ambience of the library, the cozy corners where you pick a book and sit for hours. Of course, I won’t deny, I spent time in the library solely reading books! 

The best highlights of my college life were the two libraries. The one space where one could sit in peace amidst the fragrance of old wood and old books. Touching the old print gave a different high altogether.

People still cherish reading books but reading in libraries is slowly fading out thanks to the e-book and audio book culture. There is nothing like holding a good ol’ book in hand and turning each page. The excitement would increase once you knew the book was in limited edition and in demand. It would pique the reader’s curiosity to complete the book soon, just to see how it unfolds and ends.

Libraries have books which are rare and those you will not find in book stores. This is another reason why libraries were much sought after by students, research scholars and book connoisseurs alike. Not all information is available on search engines and the worldwide web. Rare collections will be found in the pristine hallways of libraries. These are the very same places where writers found their creative juices flowing faster. The calmness of the interiors coupled with book lovers sharing the same space and positive energies are a motivation in itself to spend time in the library.

1. Pristine interiors  
Most old libraries have been crafted with love by bibliophiles in such a way that people will forget the outside world till the time they are there. Don’t forget the pleasure of exploring mysterious hallways and dark corners where books have been stored and preserved.
2. Rare collections of books, papers 
Library is a place symbolic of the history, culture and geography of any place. You are likely to even find information on people who may have been forgotten by the masses – especially unsung heroes. There are papers written by scholars on rare manuscripts too. Most of these have been preserved by book lovers over years. 
3. Book reading for connoisseurs
Some libraries organize book reading sessions for adults and children alike to encourage people to read books. Books are chosen every month or once in two months and assigned to people. Then there is a date selected to discuss the books in detail. People sit in a circle and read aloud their favourite excerpts from the book.
4. Early reading can be cultivated
Children can be encouraged to get together in libraries and choose books they want to read. They can be asked to pick a book of their choice to read and later discuss. Many parents feel their children have been swept by the digital wave and hence the interest in books is slowly waning. Local libraries can help begin book clubs for them. Younger children can be encouraged to visit libraries on a weekly basis. 
5. Rendezvous for activists, campaigners
Many thinkers, creative folks and researchers need a motivation to begin something new. Libraries have resources that can help them do the same. History is proof that in the past, all our freedom movements and campaigns have taken birth in libraries.
6. Resource centers for higher studies
Most libraries are extremely resourceful. They have a lot of information on various universities. Some like the British Council and The American Library guide children and help them prepare for entrance exams and aptitude tests. There are professionals (in the above-mentioned libraries) here who specialize in helping students write the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Academic counselling is done in most libraries.
7. Collaborations with authors
Authors often do book launches in collaboration with libraries. Book lovers look forward to the latest books by their favourite authors. Librarians often pin dates of book launches by authors. They even host book reading sessions by them. It is such a pleasure to meet book lovers here. 
8. Book fairs and festival dates
These dates usually appear in papers and are now available in the worldwide web at the click of a mouse button too. However, it can be a good motivation to visit your local libraries for dates and schedules of various book fairs and festivals. Some maybe ongoing and some scheduled for the following year. You can keep yourself updated each time you borrow a book or go back to return it. 
9. Help underprivileged kids read
Local communities in smaller cities, towns and big metros are forming small libraries for underprivileged children to teach them to read. People are encouraged to donate old books to these groups. 
10. Beating the blues
The two-year lockdown period was nightmarish for ardent book lovers. Most libraries have reopened their doors. They can re-join them. Books have a magic in them to heal all pain. Libraries are the perfect place to restore your inner peace.

So, what are you waiting for? Renew your library cards if you haven’t yet done and immerse yourself in the ocean of books. Meet your pals and beat your blues away. Signing off with this quote by a fictitious book lover: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

Follow Priya Rajendran

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