Sunday, July 19, 2009

Something borrowed

After the sugar and champagne frenzy of yesterday morning, we decided in the afternoon so do something altogether more sedate. Eve loves books, we love books, but for some reason after 6 years in HK we have never joined a library. We decided to fix that yesterday.

I have always loved libraries. When I was a child I used to spend many happy hours pretend-playing as a librarian stamping books out for my cuddly toys. I was blessed at University by having the gorgeous Radcliffe Camera as my library and loved the smell of the stacks of books, the never quite enough lighting, and the thousands and thousands of thoughts and words that the building held. There was something about going in, after a rowing outing, and bedding down for the day surrounded by books that I loved.

Things have changed since then. Hong Kong's Central library is the model of efficiency. Aside from being housed in an affront to modern, indeed any, architecture it is brilliant. Gone are the days of library cards and little bits of paper. After a short form and presenting our ID cards, we were all fully subscribed members of the library. Let this be a lesson to all the people in the UK who are opposed to ID cards, they make life so much easier! Using this and the online system, you can get a book from any library in HK delivered to your local branch and return it back to any other branch. Amazing.

The kids section is huge, a whole floor, complete with a playroom, reading room, computer room and lots of child-sized desks and chairs so the little ones can read. They have a CD library as well as books, although the toy library is currently closed due to swine flu. Eve loved it. She ran around the shelves pulling off book after book and squealing with glee. She eventually settled down on a little chair with one entirely written in Chinese about monkeys cooking congee (or at least it looked that way from the pictures). I was also so excited by the endless possibility of access to so many books that I joined Eve in running around. In the end we borrowed a couple of Mog books and one about a smelly, hairy bear all done in 2 minutes using our ID cards. I can't believe that it took us so long to join.

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