Describe a library that you have used. You should say:
Where it was
What (type of) building it was in /what type of library it was What books and facilities it had
What you did in the library
And explain what you liked and /or disliked about this library
The library I’d like to talk about that I visited is ‘Illumination Library’ (Tell the name of a library from your home town) and it is situated in my home town. I have not visited this particular library for the last 2-3 years as I am not living in my hometown any longer and yet this is the library I will always remember. This library is situated at the center of our hometown and occupies the whole three-story building. There are plenty of books there and the library offers a variety of books, novels, research papers, magazines and so on for the people of different tastes.
The books are well catalogued and arranged in a convenient fashion. There are more than 3-4 librarians and several other assistants to help find any book. The library also offers membership facility and the active members are allowed to take books to home. Since the library is funded by the government the membership fee is very negligible and affordable for students, there are lots of people visiting and reading there.
People of our hometown consider this library as the best place to gather knowledge, read in peace and to find reference books for study or professional reasons. For me, this library has a great influence on me. I became a member of this library when I was only 7 years old. My reading habit has been grown up from there. I became a passionate reader of books and novels and this library had a great influence on that. This library also helped me finishing some academic projects as I could find books and reference reading materials. I have read plenty of books in my childhood and adolescence time only because the library was conveniently there for me.
- Are there many public libraries in your country?
Yeah, I’d say there are, because I mean, pretty much every city has a public library, at least as far as I know anyway. And to take my hometown as an example, we have a couple of them, one of which has actually just been built. And if you compare this to the situation in many other developing countries, you know, where libraries are pretty hard to come by, then I’d say we’re pretty lucky with all the ones we have.
- Do people in Vietnam prefer to read in a library or at home?
I’d say on the whole people here generally prefer reading at home, simply because it’s a lot less effort than going all the way to the library to read.
But then again, I suppose in some people’s cases, going to the library might actually offer a more comfortable environment in which to read. For example, most libraries here tend to be air-conditioned during the summer and winter, whereas a lot of people’s homes aren’t, due to the fact that it costs quite a lot to keep the air conditioning on all day! So by going to the library to read, people can take advantage of the free air-conditioning!
- What can people read in a library that they can’t read in other places?
That’s good question, and to be honest with you I’m not really all that sure, but thinking about it, I suppose that a lot of libraries tend to have old books that are out of print, which you most likely wouldn’t be able to find in a bookshop. And I think it’s fair to say that in most cases, libraries have a much wider range of books than bookstores, especially when it comes to things like academic and specialist books, because after all, you know, bookstores are mainly focused on stocking books which they think are gonna sell well, which means that they’re not gonna bother about having books which might only appeal to a small proportion of people.
- Even though it might cost a lot to maintain a library, do you think every university should have its own library?
Yeah, for sure. I mean, books are a great source of knowledge, and so for me I’d say they’re one of the most important things that a university should have. You know, I think it would be impossible to get a decent university education without having easy access to a library.
- With the rapid development of technology today, do you think we still need books in the future?
Yeah, I’d say we most definitely do, because if you think about it, books have been in existence for hundreds of years, and through them, we’ve been able to pass on knowledge from generation to generation. And I’m pretty sure this will continue to be the case, because I mean, information which is stored through other means, for example electronically, can disappear or get lost very easily, whereas a book is a real object which is a lot easier to preserve over time. So yeah I’d say it’s pretty certain that we’ll still need them in the future.
- Do you often go to libraries?
Yeah, I go quite a lot, because for most of the assignments I get given on my major, there’s normally quite a lot of background reading to be done. So yeah, I’d say I’m in the library probably about two or three times a week.
- Why do you think a library is a good place for reading?
Well first of all, libraries generally have a pretty good selection of books, which are all free to read, so it’s a good place to browse through books without feeling any pressure to buy them, which you might feel if you were in a bookshop! So that’s one thing, and I guess another good thing about libraries is that they tend to have seating areas where you can sit down and read for as long as you want without being bothered by anyone.
- Who should be responsible for the cost of running libraries?
That’s a good question, and I guess it kind of depends. Because I mean, if, for example, the library belongs to a school or university, then it should be their responsibility to take care of the running costs, but if it’s a public library, then I guess it should really be the responsibility of the local government, because after all, their funds come from the taxes of the local citizens, and I think it’s reasonable to expect that these taxes be used to provide and maintain public services such as libraries.
- Should the government spend more money on libraries?
Well I’m not sure about everywhere else in China, but here in Hangzhou, I think the government’s already spent a huge amount of money on the local libraries, you know, so I’d say there’s no need for them to spend much more, apart from covering the operating costs of the ones we currently have.
- Do you think public libraries should be free of charge?
Yeah, I’d say they definitely should, because I mean, only in this way will everyone be able to enjoy their services, regardless of how rich or poor they are. You know, a lot of people can’t afford a good education, or even books for that matter, and so libraries are one of the few places where everyone can go to to either enrich their knowledge or simply just read for pleasure.
- What services and facilities should a good library have, besides lending books? Well, I suppose one thing they should have is a decent seating area, with Internet access of course, where people can go to either read or do their work in a quiet environment. So that’s one thing, and I suppose another thing that good libraries should offer are meeting rooms, where people can get together in small groups and have discussions without disturbing others in the library.
- Should libraries have computers capable of connecting to the internet? Yeah, I mean, why not?! You know, it’s another good service which libraries can offer, especially for people who aren’t lucky enough to own their computers with access to the
Internet. Having said that though, I think it would be wise for libraries to restrict the kinds of websites that people can go onto, because otherwise you know, you might get people just going there to play online games, which obviously is not what the purpose of going to a library should be!
- How do you think libraries can (or do) encourage people to read more?
That’s a good question, and thinking about it, I guess one thing that libraries could do would be to invite authors to come and talk about their books, which might increase people’s interest in reading. And as well as this, I suppose another thing might be to arrange a book club, or something like that, where people could get together in the library to discuss various books they’ve read, because by doing this, people will probably be able to develop a deeper appreciation of books.
- How do you think libraries will change in the future?
Well, I don’t know if some are doing it already, but in the future, as well as being able to browse books in the library, I think that there could also be a kind of digital area with iPads and things where you’ll be able to actually browse through e-books.
So that’s one thing, and as well as this, I suppose another possible thing that could happen is that people probably won’t even need to go to the library in order to rent a book out, because I imagine that libraries will probably have an online database which people can access from their computers at home, and then have the books they want delivered to their homes. And I mean, this is already happening with online bookstores like Amazon, but it hasn’t yet happened with libraries, at least as far as I know, so I guess it’s just a matter of time before they start doing this.
- Do you think we will still need libraries in the future, now that we have the internet?
Yeah I’d say we do, because I mean, first of all, not everyone has access to the Internet, and not only that but a lot of people also don’t know how to use the internet, especially the older generation. So yeah, I think that libraries will always be a valuable service for anyone with an interest in books and just learning in general
- What kind of skills and personal qualities do you think library staff should have? That’s an interesting question, and I’ve never really thought about it before, but I suppose one important quality that library staff should have is an interest in books, because if they do, they’ll be able to provide more of a valuable service to people, such as recommend them on what books to read. So that’s one thing, and, uh…what else……um, …I’m sorry, I’m sure there are other things, but right now this is all that comes to mind I’m afraid!