Hundreds of library-lovers in North Herts celebrated National Libraries Day on Saturday by demonstrating just how much they value the service.
Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock branches saw a steady stream of people visit stalls set up by people-powered group We ♥ Libraries to sign cards showing their support for libraries, and to make pledges promising to use the service during 2012.
Poetry ID, the local stanza of the National Poetry Society, worked with us to hold two public readings of their work at Letchworth Library, while branches such as Royston, Hitchin and Bishops Stortford held activities of their own.
We ♥ Libraries co-founder Andy Darley said: “Our aim on the day was simple: to gather evidence we could present to the council proving the level of support for libraries among the people of North Hertfordshire.
“The story was the same in each of the branches I spent time at – person after person coming forward to say how much it meant to them to have such a good library in their town.
“From little children borrowing their first picture books, to pensioners who’ve been visiting the same branch for decades, the message came loud and clear – that people in North Herts love their libraries and want to see a bright future for them.
“We’d like to thank the staff at Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock libraries for making us so welcome and for giving us the space in their branches, our brilliant volunteers for their help, and John Gohorry and his team at Poetry ID for creating a brief still point in a turning world.”
Facts, figures and findings from the day included:
• We ♥ Libraries’ Library Valentine cards, created to give library users an opportunity to show the service some love on National Libraries Day, attracted 293 signatures.
• 106 people signed pledges for 2012, including promising to borrow anything from 1 to to 40 books a month, visit a new branch, try a new author or genre or sign up a friend or family member. Pledging to borrow books was by far the most popular choice.
• A number of users said they had called in specially because it was National Libraries Day. Some had read about the event in local or national newspapers, others had heard a radio report or visited the We ♥ Libraries website.
• Some people used the event specifically as an opportunity to return to their library after a period of not visiting regularly. Others pledged to use the library to relax or pursue hobbies, encourage family members to come along, or to find suitable book club materials.
Some of the comments from library users left on pledges or on the Library Valentine cards included:
• “I will continue to use the wonderful libraries as I currently do. They are a wonderful asset.”
• “I have been coming to this library for 13 years – I wouldn’t do without it.”
• “I am a lifelong library user – one of our greatest treasures!”
• “We love our library!”
• “Can’t live without your service!”
• “Wonderful service.”