Let's Go to the Library!
You would think that as founders of Owl Readers Club, we would have no need to visit the public library to get books for our children (who are 3 and 1 at the time of writing). Wrong!
Getting your books online and browsing in the library are two vastly different experience and we wanted our little boy to have the thrill of running through the rows of shelves, surrounded by the things he love – books! The experience we encountered, however, was a lot less thrilling.
As our son was going to watch a play on The Tale of Peter Rabbit next week, we thought reading the book before that would make it a more enjoyable experience for him. A quick check on the NLB app showed multiple editions of the same book but, as luck would have it, there was one available copy in the library near us. We could pay a small fee to make a reservation or take our chances and head down directly to the library, which was about thirty minutes away. We went with the roll of the dice.
After navigating the weekend crowd and queuing up for parking lots, we finally arrived at the library, which had dedicated one entire floor to books for children. Modern technology and convenience have spoilt us quite a bit, and having to manually search for the right shelf where the book was apparently located got us a little frustrated.
Eventually, we gave up the search and sort help from a library attendant. Just as we thought our ordeal was over, we discovered that the book was not where it was supposed to be! This despite the NLB app showing that the book was available!
The only consolation we got was that our son was happily hoarding all manner of books he could get his hands on.
That is the joy of the library experience (albeit having to return the books in 3 weeks) – It’s like diving into a large spread at an international buffet. It’s great for readers who want to get a taste of everything. On the other hand, there are readers like us who prefer the experience of finding an intimate connection with one or a few carefully curated books; the belly warming familiarity of a home cooked meal.
Is there a place for public library in this era of digital convenience? Are there enough readers for us to grow our online book club?
We hope that we had our answer that evening as we tucked our son to sleep. Despite having new books to read, he requested for his favourite bedtime story Don't Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly! – one of the first English books that we curated for Owl Readers Club.
By the husband and wife, co-founders of Owl Readers Club.