Last week we posted an image about the usefulness of libraries on our Facebook page, along with the question 'Why do you go to your library?'
We had a wide range of responses, including:
'For books to explore and expand my mind'
'To get new ideas by browsing through the craft books'
'To visit the Citizen's Advice Bureau, to meet friends, to borrow the latest book, to use the internet...'
One response caught our eye: Holly Neilson (whose children star in this adorable photo, left) posted a link to a piece she wrote for Stuff Nation in 2016. We are reprinting it here along with an update from Holly, with kind permission:
My library saved me
When you are pregnant, whether it is your first child or your eighth, it can be hard.
During my own two pregnancies, I struggled. I had just moved to Auckland and had horrible postnatal depression after my eldest was born. That, combined with being isolated and lonely in new town, left me terrified of another pregnancy for years - and I was very lonely.
It isn't easy to make friends when you are a stay-at-home parent in a new town. When I had my second last year, I was still terrified and lonely despite having lived in Auckland for five years.
Then, I found the most amazing parenting help of all - my local library. It seems strange doesn't it? But one day I was early for a Plunket appointment and I wandered into a 'wriggle and rhyme' session.
It was amazing. My daughter adored it, everyone was lovely and suddenly my world was a little less lonely. I found myself going back every week.
The librarians always go above and beyond, making sure you feel welcome and that your every need is taken care of. I started talking to other mothers, I found other families whose kids went to the school my eldest was due to start.
From then on, every time I hit a hurdle I knew I could go to the library and get help with whatever it was - from breastfeeding issues (so many self-help books) to helping my son with confidence issues at school.
Through the library I met people who, when our garage nearly burned down with all our too-big/summer baby clothes in it, turned up with huge bags of clothes to fit our kids.
Local libraries are an asset to the community I didn't expect to find, especially after five years of isolation in new town.
So now, when I see a new mum or a heavily pregnant mum-to-be, I always stop and recommend our local library's 'wriggle and rhyme' time. You never know when they might need to find their village.
So if you are like me, feeling isolated and alone, just try your local library. I'm sure you will find wonderful, helpful staff and some new friends.
If you are in Auckland you can find your libraries rhyme time schedule here.
Holly's update - December 2018
Well, I wrote this two years ago now.
What an amazing two years I've had and my local library has continued to be there for me every step of the way as I added yet another wee human to our family.
With three kids, our local library has been a lifesaver. School holiday reading programmes for my now 7 year old son, preschool music for Ms 3, and my husband used library computers to find a new job shortly after I wrote the original article.
The library helped my son sow a love of reading that will last him his entire life. I hope our beloved library (and our wonderful librarians) will help me sow this in my youngest kids too. Thank you libraries for helping me raise my bookworms and supporting me through these early years.
Glenfield Library, Auckland, you are invaluable.
- Holly Neilson, 2018.