Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Love your library - a crafter's perspective

Image courtesy of Phil Bradley


Now. You may not know this about me, but I am a librarian in The Real Life. Not a lot of people know much about what librarians do, but we are highly qualified (you need an undergrad and a postgrad to become one), passionate about knowledge, about our local community and about equality of access to information. And we don't just read and stamp books all day. I don't personally work in a public library, but I feel strongly about them, and the cuts brought in by the Tories Coalition Government are hitting them hard. There is lots of debate going on but I'm not going to go into any of that here. Google it if you're interested. But there are some truly uplifting stories about communities coming together to save their local library, for example in Stony Stratford where the local community checked out all the library's books in protest at the library closures. That's right. Every. Last. One. Fantastic support. Although I wouldn't want to be on shelving duty when they all come back in...!

A crafter's perspective
You may now be asking yourself 'why is she posting this here, it's a craft blog'. Well. Aside from all the other reasons to love your local library, it will most likely have a craft section. Yep. Free (FREE) books on crochet, knitting, sewing, macrame (if that's your thing), card-making, interior design...etcetera. What's not to like? Particularly if (like me) you're a dabbler, i.e. you like to try lots of different crafty endeavours, then the library is your friend. Why spend ages trawling the web for free patterns or tutorials? Why spend money buying craft books that you may only use once then tire of the craft? Obviously once you know and love a craft you may want to own the books yourself, but for a quick intro or a specific pattern, borrowing is perfect. If your library doesn't have the book you'd like, check out its inter-library loan system, they may be able to get it for you.

Anyway, I'm not here to preach. But please, support your local public library! Perhaps some of you already do. If you are already a library advocate then show your support. We need you!

16 comments:

  1. You're so right Carly - the library is the best place for all things literary, including craft books! I regularly loan five or six at a time - I don't read them from cover to cover, but it's so nice to sit and have a flick through, jotting down any ideas etc. The library is, without doubt, one of the best places to glean info and inspiration - it breaks my heart when I read about their struggles in the face of adversity. Thank you for posting!

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  2. I used my local library when I started sewing. This is an important topic and I'm surrounded by debate right now, being involved in the children's book world. Great image, too! I see it's free for anyone to use - I'll be circulating.

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  3. I feel strongly about this too and will endeavour to take out more craft books from now on. Even though our house is full of books I still insist on taking my boys to the library and use it myself for my guilty pleasures (crime fiction and Georgette Heyer!). I'm very impressed you're a librarian - what a fine profession to have. I've got a soft spot for librarians being a big fan of Philip Larkin! Great post. J x

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  4. So true! I'm fairly new to this sewing lark and have purchased one book, but I'm looking forward to getting down to my local library which I 'discovered' (i.e. started using) just before breaking my leg and starting my sewing adventure! I hope to get down there again soon and see what they've got.

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  5. Oh, and the image is a 'Wordle', no? I discovered it recently and think its fabulous!

    http://www.wordle.net/

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  6. Great post Carly, on an important subject and a good prompt for me. I've been coveting some new patchwork books online, and was hoping someone would buy me them for my birthday - instead I'll take control, and head down to Hastings library!

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  7. Well said! Brixton library came to my aid yesterday when I needed to get some work done and the house was too distracting. And I've got a sewing book on loan at the moment - it's brilliant. Will definitely be using more of their craft books.

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  8. I am a staunch supporter of the libraries. I cannot afford to support my reading habit so the library is my friend. I have found so many books there that I wouldn't have bought to read due to the cost. It's too expensive to buy a book by an unknown to me author on the off chance that I might like it. But borrowing it first? Oh yeah!

    Leeds has an amazing library system. You can borrow from any library in the borough and they will even bring any book to a library near you for a small fee. The craft sections are really good. So yeah, LOVE!

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  9. Sorry to comment twice but I've just checked out your year in books and couldn't see anywhere to comment there. Do not be ashamed of number 1. I've read all 4 of them and I feel they appeal to my inner 15 year old. I remember being that unsure of myself and anyhoo, not every book you enjoy needs to be a work of classic magnificence :o) hehehehe I think the get worse story wise as the series goes on but not a bad set of books really. I think that this list is a really good idea and I hope you don't mind if I nab the idea?

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  10. I'm happy this post has had such a good response, I totally wasn't expecting it! (it's probably a good thing, if I'd known I had an appreciative audience I probably would have ranted on for much longer!) It really saddens me when people say that public libraries are outdated or not relevant to them, what can be more relevant to a civilised society than equality of access to information? Libraries are about much more than the lending of books and too many people in positions of authority don't understand this.

    @Molly the image is actually a Tagxedo (http://www.tagxedo.com/) - it's like a wordle, but better as it's more customisable. I hope your leg is better/getting better!

    @Jane, yes the library also keeps me in Marian Keyes and Lisa Jewell - guilty pleasures!

    @Affi'enia thanks for flagging up the lack of comment box on my book page, I hadn't realised - have put one there now. I wasn't expecting anyone else to be interested really but I'm glad you took a look!

    Thanks for your comments everyone xx

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  11. I love my library in Aberdeen although it's usually dead :( It's a beautiful old seven storey building and I once got a free tour with a guide as part of doors open day. It was amazing to see where they repair books, where they keep all the old censuses (censi? No idea.)

    Looking forward to finding my new local one once I'm settled in Glasgow and hope it has a good craft section too.

    Loved this post, think I'll write one about libraries too and spread the word.

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  12. This is a great post and so true! My local library stocks all the Stitch and Bitch books in their craft section. I recommended one to my elderly neighbour who went to enquiries and shocked everyone when she asked for "The Happy Hooker".

    Blue Skies,
    Charlotte xo

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  13. Great post! And I love the story about Stony Stafford. In my local area, the government tried to close 11 out of 24 libraries - I seem to remember a local councillor stating in a TV interview that "no one uses libraries these days anyway". What absolute rubbish! Anyway, they didn't get away with it as you can read here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/06/libraries-andyburnham

    My local library is great and I use it about once a week. They have brilliant craft books for me to browse while my (10 month old) daughter has her own library card so we can get her story books. The children's library staff do a great job running lots of free activities too - craft sessions, storytime, nursery rhymes etc.

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  14. Yay libraries! I found my perfect crochet book in my local library.
    Have you come across Helen's blog? http://afeitar.blogspot.com/
    She's a librarian too and bakes amazing looking cakes as well :)

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  15. @Dichohecho cheers for the recommendation, will give it a look! :)

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  16. Couldn't agree more. As an archivist in The Real Life (your dusty cousins!)I too believe passionately in access to information and it's effect on creativity. You might be interested in checking out CILIP's Save Our LIbraries day of action campaign www.cilip.org.uk/savelibraries which is coming up on 5th February.

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