Modern libraries can take the form of a local book exchange to a huge community centre, complete with roof gardens and cafes.
The reasons why Australians love them are just as diverse. From the smell of books to the friendly librarian, there are plenty of reasons to visit, and to love, our libraries.
To mark Library Lovers’ Day, here are some of the OUP Australia staff’s favourites.
I did high school work experience at the library. I love books and so I spent a lot of time there; I wanted to see what it was like behind the scenes.
As a kid, I remember borrowing the Saddle Club books, or sitting in the kids’ section of my local library and reading.
I love libraries. My sister works at a law library, so when we were in New York, we visited the legal library there. We also went to the New York library with the lions out the front, and we visited libraries in Washington DC and Beverly Hills. We also visited the Beast’s Library from Beauty and the Beast at Disneyland. Pure Magic!.
I love taking photos of the buildings. The library in Boston had beautiful study rooms, with green lamps and high ceilings – it was really picturesque.
I also regularly go to my local library in Carnegie to borrow books.
I remember my primary school library, and story time with the librarian. When I started work at here, I was excited to see some of the books that I read at that time, by Robin Klein and Alison Lester, were published by Oxford.
I remember going to the school library when I arrived in Australia from Italy when I was 11. I used to go to learn English and there was a great librarian there – she was enthusiastic and friendly, and spent time going through the books with me. I still have a copy of the Wizard of Oz that I read at the time. There were books about learning English, but I liked the novels the best.
Now, I often go to my local library to borrow books.
I love my local library because I can go there to get all the new releases. It has great service and is nice and quiet. Usually, I reserve books and go there to pick them up, but sometimes, I go and browse or do some life admin or writing.
When I was at uni, I used to go to the State Library to study. There was a little nook in the Redmond Barry Reading Room that was nice and quiet, and it smelt good.
I’ve just joined the Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy library. It’s in a beautiful, brand new building on St Georges Road. It has a roof top garden and a community centre, and hosts concerts and other events. It’s a really nice space.
I just borrowed my first book from it for book club – Extinctions by Josephine Wilson.
I have strong memories of starting to read ‘proper’ novels in high school. I remember reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and S.E. Hinton’s books, and wondering how I was ever going to make a dent in all of the books along those huge shelves.
At uni, I loved the quiet and sense of studiousness at the library. It was a peaceful escape from the activity at the college where I lived.
As a mother, I reacquainted myself with libraries, taking my children to Rhyme Time. It was a happy surprise to see how libraries had become much more than just books – they were gathering places and learning spaces, with the books at their centre.