Sunday, 23 January 2011
I love old school text books, and this watercolour painting book is a favourite. Perhaps it is because I am partial to both tulips and birds, and there are plenty of each in here. It gives very precise instructions on how to paint them. I had not realised that watercolour painting was so prescriptive until I went on a painting course just before Christmas and we literally made a picture almost by numbers. It's very different to my usual haphazard method of trial and quite a bit of error - but some of it was useful.
Books have been on my mind a lot this week with the news that 600 public libraries are to close in the UK.
It is causing controversy, I am glad to say. I am a huge supporter of libraries and I use mine every single week, sometimes more, and have done for years. The habit began in childhood, as with so many people, and it has never left me. My mum would take my brother and I to our large old Victorian city library every Friday: I can remember getting picture books as a tiny child, then pony stories and school tales, and as a voracious teenage reader, finally being let loose in the adult section.
But it's not just nostalgia which makes me so cross about the library closures. The implication is that they are a bit outdated but I see how many people use my local one, and I am sure it's not unusual. When I was there last week, it was buzzing. The computer stations were full (mainly young people doing college work). A large home schooling family were in the children's section. There were older citizens reading the newspapers, and many people browsing the shelves. I use the online reservation service all the time and have sourced some wonderful new titles this way.
We cannot all afford to buy books on Amazon or access them on Kindle e-readers or iPads. Books are civilising, something our society really needs, and it will be a sad, sad day if these cuts go ahead.