I have been using New Cross Library again recently and quite moved what a warm friendly humane place it is. It’s simply and efficiently run by the staff full of good books and people using the web and reassuringly quite and calm like a good library should be.
I have been going to libraries since before I could remember and have talked before about the additional thrill of Hanley library because of the occasional chance to visit the real spitfire across the road. Of course books we also the attraction. I don’t ever been made to read by my parents it was something we did me and brothers would go down stairs to kids section while usually my Dad went up stairs to browse himself. We would race to oversize section to see if there were any Asterix books to take out and then move onto the books on space and vikings (I was typical boy coming late to fiction (apart from comics) really only in my late teens).
As we got older we could browse upstairs and take out adult fiction or do your homework upstairs on the big tables.
New Cross library is similar to our little village library, the children section was up stairs there and often for something to do I’d go down after school or on Saturday. Often I had the tiny room to myself to read the Hamlyn book of Horror or a book on war planes. I have close friend for whom this little library was much bigger life line his home bereft of books and taught to read via commando comics and pulp westerns he sucked up the knowledge and peace of this place (amongst others) and now makes his living as writer.
This all might seem trite and libaries have always needed to evolve and adapt but well if Lewisham Council are forced to close places like New Cross library well the world will be a duller, dumber, poorer place.