Exploring with old friends
Every Wednesday morning at the back of the library you’ll find a group of older people waiting for staff to arrive. In summer they enjoy the sunshine, in winter it’s a definite huddle against the cold, but their enthusiasm endures, It’s all for the books. They’ve been coming for years to cover the librarys’ newest acquisitions… and sometimes for the opportunity to be the first to explore the latest great read. So what do they like? Most things, it seems, but these are a general consensus:
- Historical fiction, especialy English and Australian
- Any and all crime fiction
- Contemporary fiction – language and setting are important here
- Australian history, non-fiction
- Gardens, gardening
- Anything slightly quirky
- and anything that looks good because you do choose a book by it’s cover.
As the piles of newly covered items grow, so does the accompanying conversation. This group has the equivalent of over 300 years of reading between them, thousands and thousands of pages. While they have their old favourites, books they grew up reading, books that sparked their interest many years ago, their interest is ongoing. It is reading that’s the constant. During the morning, pages are flicked, paragraphs read, pictures commented on. They read the local paper over coffee. Their library is precious, they borrow generously, regularly, and hey, if ultimately they dislike their reading choice, the item is simply, but firmly placed in the returns chute.
In a world that doesn’t always value older age, our Friends group shows us that age is no barrier to the continued enjoyment and exploration of reading. Books are shared, friendships made and enjoyed, Past, present and future, they’ve got their reading covered. Literally, and at the end of a productive morning, under their arms and on the way out the door.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Older Persons is celebrated annually on October 1 to recognize the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives.