I just decided to start this thread to praise my local library, and wonder how many other posters are members of local authority libraries.
I was inspired to do so after I just came back from dropping off some books my little ones read, and while there, I found that the library are now also offering DVD's of literary classics. I know some might find this to be the anthesis of what a library should be doing i.e. encouraging reading, but in this case I found a special edition copy of Orwells anti-communist classic "Animal Farm" (as opposed to the less celebrated one which shouldn't be discussed here)
I remember seeing this in school about 25 years ago now, and it was only after I began to learn more about the history of Communism did it make sense to me. It was a wonderful story and so easily accesible so I brought it home to show to my kids.
I've also managed to read some absolute beauties over the past 6 months such as Simon Sebag Montefiores seminal work on Stalin, "the Court of the Red Tsar" and an enlightening account of the brutality of the British Government in dealing with the Mau Mau in Kenya in the late 50's and 60's, Caroline Elkins "Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya", and the "Yamoto Dynasty: The Secret History of Japans Imperial Family" (Sterling Seagrave), which threw light on how the Americans manipulated Japan both before and after WW2 as a means of entering the war, and gaining a foothold in South East Asian politics after the war ended.
Also, apart from all these serious tomes, I have read most of the Simon Scarrow series, fictional accounts of the Roman Invasion of Great Britain, Dan Brown's Lost Symbol, and a host of other fictional page turners...
All provided free of charge by the library.. who in the past twelve months introduced my kids of painting exhibitions, how to grow gooseberries and blueberries by showing them how to cut the plants, a reading club, helping them onto the "reading tree" (thus encouraging them to be disciplined in reading, and giving them the confidence to speak in front of others by giving books reviews), and other library related activities
Well done the local library