Reasons to resist library closures

I keep hearing more news about library closures or libraries having to cut their opening hours/staff/stock/costs/losses. Arrgggh.

I wrote this poem a couple of years back. I wonder whether, in ten or twenty years' time, some of the images in it will seem archaic and quaint, like something from a previous era.

Towards the exit

I find a book on Shakespeare’s life, misplaced
in the Cookery section.  No worries.
Here’s a blue corner chair, a vase
of optimistic daffodils on a windowsill
and an hour to laze through glossed pages.

A woman with a stick and a wheeze tugs
herself up the ramp to Fiction.  She smiles
to find new romance in ‘Recently Returned’.
She leans against a pillar for the first pages
in which Marion flies to Morocco with a sad heart.

A young man, tall, unshaven, taps
his dreams into an online form. He bends
towards the screen as if in prayer
to a fickle deity, scrolling up and down
for errors, for slips, for what he's missed.

A child in denim dungarees perches
on the chair opposite me.  The mother
browses the shelves while his fat fingers
trace a dragon’s tail across the page.
He points out green and blue and mouth fire.

Two men, both in sturdy boots, shed
mud in ‘Crime’ while swapping views on
Rankin -

- The library will close in five minutes -

Clutching Shakespeare and Marion
in Morocco and dreams and dragons
and a Rebus mystery (and a leaflet on cuts
from a table near the door)
we all sigh towards the exit.

We mustn't Lego of our libraries


  1. I love that Lego Library and am going to hunt one down to put on my bookshelf.
    We had library closures here recently, but temporary as they upgraded.

    1. I loved the Lego library too. Hope your library upgrade doesn't mean fewer books and more computers. That's what it often means ....

  2. This is a brilliant poem. Didn't know you could write serious poetry so well. Felt I was in that library. Loved it.

    1. Thanks, Deborah. The poem achieved its goal, then!

  3. I do love this Fran. It says it all.

  4. Libraries are so special. Lovely post :)

    1. My favourite places to be, but even the ones left are getting so automated and I've always preferred humans.

  5. I was transported back to the library I used to spend hours in - thank you.
    I used to linger in the working abroad section dreaming of working on a Kibbutz but not brave enough to go.
    I applied for a job in the library but didn't get the job; I talked about working in the childrens' section too much I think.
    The interview was on my birthday & I was meeting friends for lunch afterwards. The two ladies interviewing me had lunch in the same pub which was awkward as they'd already told me that I didn't have the job.
    I then got the perfect job - speech therapy assistant. I worked in a delightful school for language impaired children. I loved it. The job was one of those government funded one year appointments and sadly could not be extended but by then I was brave enough to go and work on a Kibbutz which was totally fantastic.
    I then worked as a nanny in Antigua and met my future husband so the moral of this rather long story is that working in the library was not for me and not getting the job was a blessing in disguise !

    1. I loved hearing more about your life. How embarrassing, to meet your interviewers again in the pub! I'm so interested in speech therapy these days since I've had to teach 'child language acquisition' and all about the organs of speech articulation to A level English Language students. Fascinating.

    2. It was fascinating. I worked closely with the three speech therapists and was allowed to do some of the exercises with the children. I also made teaching aids like flash cards & puppets. I was offered the classroom assistant job but the Kibbutz had won my heart... I worked there three different times. My two friends from the pub came with me the second time & caught the bug too. Happy days.

  6. Verse 3 is brilliant! (The rest is fine too, of course, don't get me wrong, but the imagery and wordsmithing of verse 3 deserves special mention!)

    1. Thanks so much! I liked the young man, too.

  7. Anonymous8/5/16 11:30

    So well done--I'm impressed!!

    1. Thanks, fishducky! That means a lot.

  8. when I walk into our library, I see 2 rows of computers and a lovely mix of people. Kids playing a game, grannies catching up with foreign grandchildren, earnest students.

    And I especially like that the first question the computer asks is - English, Afrikaans, or Xhosa.

    1. Sounds as though your library gets good use.

  9. ... great poem Fran.
    I love libraries.. all the books excite me.. I'd love to read them all.. Hugs.. Barb xxxx

    1. If only there were time to read all the books! I don't think I'll ever catch up, but then I started late.

  10. You left out the pensioners who meet to play Rummikub every Tuesday afternoon , the How to Instagram group on Thursdays , the climbing frame in the childrens section and the rude old git in the Reading Room who belches while he dries his socks on the radiator .
    Our local library is rapidly becoming the town's Care in the Community headquarters .

    1. I think you should write your own poem with all these images in it!


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