The Magic of Libraries

Hermione: “Harry–I think I’ve just understood something! I’ve got to go to the library!”

And she sprinted away, up the stairs.

Harry: “What does she understand?”
Ron: “Loads more than I do.”
Harry: “But why’s she got to go to the library?”
Ron (shrugs): “Because that’s what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library.” (The Chamber of Secrets – J.K.Rowling)

‘And then, of course, there was the sheer size of the library; tens of thousands of books; thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows.
Hermione took out a list of subjects and titles she had decided to search while Ron strode off down a row of books and started pulling them off the shelves at random. Harry wandered over to the Restricted Section. He had been wondering for some time if Flamel wasn’t somewhere in there. Unfortunately, you needed a specially signed note from one of the teachers to look in any of the restricted books and he knew he would never get one.’ (Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling)

Yes, libraries are magical places where so much is waiting to be discovered. Going to libraries in childhood leaves an indelible impression that never leaves one.


This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
     wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
     too short
          For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big

In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
     a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall

The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books — another world — just waiting
At my fingertips.

Nikki Giovanni 

Childhood Memories Of Going To The Library

This is the library I went to as a child in Newport, Isle of Wight, U.K

As a child in the ’60s i lived in Newport on the Isle of Wight, which lies off the south coast of England. Every Saturday morning myself and my siblings were sent to the library. It was a big Victorian building with high ceilings and tall windows, some of which were arch-shaped.

These are some of people’s memories of the library:

‘I loved the inside. I thought it was very posh. Spotless and shiny.’

‘I used to go there I can smell it now.’

‘I can see it my mind’s eye as I went there often, first to the children’s library which was bigger than the one in Cowes where I also spent a lot of time, then the adult section.’

‘I used to love going in there it seemed more like a library somehow…’

‘I used to love visiting the children’s library.’

‘Didn’t you go in the front, reference library on the left, or down the corridor a bit and turn right to go into the main library? Then, the desk was on the left, and the children’s library was another room on your right.’

‘Odd, there’s many bits of Newport that I don’t remember properly, but the Seely Library is one of the odd bits that just sticks in my memory.’

‘I used to love the little wooden chairs in the children’s library.’

‘And, of course, we all had our little library cardboard envelopes, which was the number of books we could take out. The ticket from inside the front cover of the book was put into the little envelope, and they put that into wooden trays in date order of when the book was due back (and stamped the date inside the book).’

‘The library inspired me so much I set up the same system with my own books at home.’

‘I loved going to the library.’

The library is in a different place now and the building was used as several schools too. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any photos of the inside of the building. But clearly many people still have good memories of the place and remember it as a special space and part of the community.

Libraries Have Changed To Meet Changing Needs

Maybe in your mind the library is an eerily quiet place with lots of shushing. But today’s youngest library patrons engage — with books and magazines, with librarians, and with other kids. Most libraries offer regular children’s programs that make stories come to life. (Think puppets, costumes, and animated storytellers.) And often this magic happens in cozy corners where kids flop down on big pillows and bean-bag chairs.

Libraries are wonderful because they give all, rich or poor, educated or non-educated, young or old, access to books, computers, newspapers, audio-books, classes, groups, speakers, authors, art and creative projects, story-telling and so much more. Libraries support and encourage the local community in all their endeavours. Why not visit your local library today? (During the Covid 19 lock-downs they are running many things online). Discover some library magic.

2 thoughts on “The Magic of Libraries”

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