Libraries like Café’s? Uh, what?

Yes, I am getting on my soap box about libraries again but I feel the need to talk about it.

Wakefield One, Wakefield. Source: Wakefield First

I have been meaning to write about this since seeing a report in the Daily Mail (a UK daily newspaper) that talked about an independent report calling for libraries to become more like Costa Coffee shops. You can read the original report here. What has spurred me to finally write about it today (not least of all because I haven’t posted this week) is a quote MyLittleBookBlog posted yesterday:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries”Anne Herbert

I have no doubt the authors of the report mean well and agree with Mr Sieghart when he says how important libraries are to those who are the poorest in our society. I also agree that Wi-Fi has to become a necessity for libraries to continue to survive and thrive (digital book lending on e readers anyone?), the need for comfy sofas and toilets as well as offering other services to make the library a community hub but the part that made go “uh, what?” is the suggestion that hot drinks should be offered in libraries. I think he has missed something very important in that regard. If libraries offer hot drinks along with everything else, doesn’t the library then become a café with books to browse and read?

There is a reason why there is a rule in most libraries that I have visited that no food or drink is allowed near the computers in the library at least: it’s called health and safety and making sure that other people don’t gag over horrible food smells! By all means offer food and drink but NOT in the library itself!

I am proud to say that most libraries in the Wakefield area offer comfortable areas to sit and read, toilets and programmes for the community as well as a place for the older members in the area to meet and talk to other people. Frequently, the library staff are the only people they talk to all week. In my mind, the libraries offer a great value for money service. A library building that offers everything that the report says need to be all libraries is the Wakefield One building in Wakefield however hot drinks and food are only available in Create Cafe downstairs and food and drink is not allowed near the computers.

So it is possible to cram all of what this report is saying libraries need to do but libraries like coffee shops? Uh, no. I doubt libraries are actually heading for disaster if they don’t incorporate all of this but let’s maybe have more like the libraries in the Wakefield area and Wakefield One but keep libraries and coffee shops as separate entities. Possibly the best compromise available.

P.S.: Find out more Wakefield Libraries and the latest news by visiting the Wakefield Libraries blog and check out Wakefield (and it’s library) during the Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival taking place Friday 20 to Sunday 22 February 2015.

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Book Review: More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell

I know I haven’t posted for a couple of days but life got in the way. I have however finished another book, as well as this one, in the last few days so I will be posting two reviews today. Moving on, this particular book is only a short book so this will probably be only a short review.

More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops is the sequel to the original book and features conversations and quotes from customers in bookshops, either to the bookseller or to another customer, which have happened in either in the shop that the author works in or from other bookshops and libraries around the world. There is also a section about quotes from customers from when Jen Campbell was signing copies of the original book.

The original book kept me giggling and laughing and this book was no different. One of the quotes left me literally crying with laughter (I will post it at the end of this review) whilst others left me as confused as the booksellers and the librarians featured in the book. It also left me wondering about some of the customers. I can’t describe what I mean as I can’t even put my thoughts into words. I think the best way to describe it is that it just leaves me wondering and makes me question how some people’s brains work. I think everyone knows those people that they sometimes are left wondering about and I think that some of those people must feature in this book. The last section also shows that some people have some pretty weird ideas and shows that some traditional ideas about writers still persist.

Moving on though, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to everyone, particularly if you work in a bookshop or a library and/or go into shops or libraries a lot. It certainly gives you a new perspective on the people who go in. And I will finish, as promised, on my favourite quote:

CUSTOMER: I need to return this book on ghosts.

BOOKSELLER: Is there a problem with it?

CUSTOMER: Yes. It’s haunted.

Susan Holland: SmithBooks, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (p.94)

 

Book Review: After The Kiss by Michele Hauf

After The Kiss is the short story e-book sequel to Moon Kissed by Michele Hauf in her Wicked Games series. This review will be short since it is only a short story.

This book returns to the story of Severo and Belladonna Reynolds as they get married and start married life as husband and wife, or rather, werewolf and vampire. Bella wants to bite Severo, to mark him as hers but Severo’s past, and the fact that he would be ostracised by his kind, makes him reluctant to take it. This quickly becomes a sticking point and the two begin to wonder if a marriage between them could ever work.

Unlike Moon kissed, this book is written from the first person perspective, switching frequently between Severo and Bella. This can be a little disorienting but it does provide the reader with a new view on each of the characters. I did find this book a little slower going than the previous book, perhaps because I read this one about a year or so after I read Moon Kissed or maybe it is because this is more emotionally driven than the previous book but it is still enjoyable and explores Hauf’s world a bit deeper.

If you have read the previous book, I think this will be a very satisfying sequel and can be enjoyed as part of Hauf’s series or as a standalone story.