Return to Wonderland: Libraries change lives - Runner Up - Public Libraries of New Zealand > Libraries Change Lives

Connect

Email

Search

Latest News


Libraries Change Lives

Return to Wonderland: Libraries change lives - Runner Up

Return to Wonderland: Libraries change lives - Runner Up

The school lunchtime bell chimed. The sound of desks banging shut, clatter of pencils, scooping up of books, clamour of excited voices, laughter and pitter-patter of feet rushing to the playground. My feet made their way to my refuge, my treasure trove, my wonderland – the junior school library on the second floor of the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Mumbai, India. Forty-five minutes of undiluted joy and bliss as I escaped to the land of the Faraway Tree, went on adventures with the Famous Five, marvelled at the lives of Gandhi and Lincoln, and quenched my great curiosity about everything under the sun. 

The years went by. High school, college, university. The libraries grew bigger, the range of subjects wider. Enid Blyton gave way to Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Science encyclopaedias gave way to thick volumes on physics, chemistry, biology, management and technology. Drawers of library catalogues and blue ink issue stamps were replaced by electronic library management systems. But my lunchtimes and free periods were still largely spent at the library of whichever educational institution I was attending at that point in time. My access and exposure to public libraries was limited to the British Council library and the National Library in Kolkata. Community and local libraries are non-existent in India. My library trips had become quests for supplementary study material for my degree examinations rather than an exciting sojourn into wonderland. 

Then came my relocation to Wellington and I still remember the first day my friend took me to the Central Library. My eyes were agog, awestruck. A free library with no limit on the number of books you could borrow. This had to be a dream! Large print books – didn’t even know they existed! Magazines galore. DVDs and audio books. Friendly librarian’s eager to help out with their wealth of knowledge. Self-issue systems, inter-library loans. A great café. But wait – what was that? The sound of children laughing. My feet find their way to the children’s section. The largest children’s library I’ve ever seen. A storytelling session was in progress. Children surrounded the storyteller, listening with rapt attention. I stood there transfixed, lulled by the mellifluous voice rising and falling, surrounded by Enid Blyton, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Horrible Histories and Tell Me Why. I was back in Wonderland.


Share

Post a Comment


  • Libraries Change Lives by Nadia Adam Shah

    I do not know where to begin. Well for one thing, the library is a wonderful, marvellous, and miraculous place. It is free for anyone to enjoy, no matter what culture, religion, or country you are fro...
  • I Feel Like I Belong in the Library by Hana Adam Shah

    I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. Reading to me is fun, interesting and something relaxing to do. The library inspires me to read more widely and more often! Recently, I’ve come to...
  • Libraries Change Lives by Hariklia Nicola

    This is my story about how the library has changed my life! The library has changed my life in many ways. I have been going to the Kilbirnie Library since I was 1 and a half years old, I still love go...
  • Return to Wonderland: Libraries change lives - Runner Up

    In Return to Wonderland, Kaushiki Roy, Runner Up in the 2016 Libraries change lives competition tells us just how much the world of libraries has changed.
  • My Library is a safe haven

    Matthew is autistic and has ADHD, he finds that his local library is his safe space and has been having regular visits since he was three years old.
  • My Library kickstarted my new life

    Our judges deliberations close this week and then it's over to the public to choose the winners of our Libraries change lives writing competition. Spot prize winner, Elok Halimah's story shows how li...
  • My Library saved my home

    Joy found that her library helped save her from a frosty winter living in her garage after her house had been badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquake.
  • My Library changed my life

    This is a true story about how I went from hating libraries and listening to music in bed to spending a lot of my time sitting on a sofa letting fascinating words flood my stressed mind. This is how i...

 

 

 

 

 

For an interactive map featuring all New Zealand public libraries.