I've always loved libraries. In elementary school I've looked forward to library days and I can almost even remember the first book I've checked out. Unfortunately, public libraries are non-existent in the Philippines and after elementary school the only way I could read new books was if we acquired them ourselves. Our parents did right by us by getting as many books as they could. We had encyclopaedias, surplus American school textbooks, and the occasional new books from National Book Store. When I reached teenage years I probably read all the books in our household from cover to cover.
One of the happy surprises I've found about living in Australia has been the availability of free libraries to its residents. It was here that I realised what a public library should be. Our local library isn't just a place to borrow books but one can also borrow up to date magazines and periodicals, CD's, DVD's and even sports equipment for free. You can even book time for free internet as well. Heck, our library even carries the latest graphic novels! It's a terrific place and one that's influenced my kids heavily when it comes to them reading early.
One thing I love about our library is the online book catalogue and reservation system. I spend my time at home on the net just browsing through and reserving books online. Then, I just pop down to the library to pick them up at a designated spot when the books are ready. Because our city shares the books throughout its library system, I don't have to wait for a book to be available just at my local library. The online catalogue searches throughout the several libraries in my city council area and brings it all into my local library down the road when they're available.
Our family has spent many an afternoon at the local library just browsing and borrowing books to take home. The kids love visiting and we'd come home with a bag full of kids books which they'd read before their bedtime. They already have their own library cards and are always keen to use them when they get the chance. I'm glad to have been able to impart my love of reading to our kids and I hope it helps them out later in life.