Feel like curling up with a good book?

Why don’t you join your local library? There are worlds waiting to be explored between the covers of all those wonderful books – from romance to crime, fantasy and science-fiction, from your favourite superhero-comics to books with fun facts about every topic under the sun.

Joining a library is easy – here is what to do:
• Find out where your nearest library is (You can use the internet to search for the municipal libraries in your area.)
• Go to the library with your ID and proof of address. Proof of address is an official bill with your address on it. This could be a rates bill, a Telkom bill or an electricity bill. (If you don’t have your own proof of address or ID you can take the ID and proof of address of a parent/guardian or person you live with.)
• Ask the librarian for a library membership form. When you have filled it out you will get your own library card. This could be issued the same day, or you may have to wait a few days. (Keep your card safe and you will never have to renew it!) If you do lose it, don’t worry. Just tell the librarian and they will issue you with a new one.
• With your card you will be able to take out books (the librarian will tell you how many books you can take out to enjoy). You can also take out CDs and DVDs if your library has them.
• You can usually borrow books for two weeks (or six for pensioners.)
• Treat your books kindly – remember other people can’t enjoy them if they are badly damaged.
• If you don’t return your book on time, or if they are damaged you will be fined – the library needs to pay for new books so that they can replace them. (The fines are R1 per week for books overdue.)
• Take some time to explore your library – you will see that there are also magazines, newspapers, and DVDs. Some things – like newspapers – you can only read in the library, others you can take out.

What you can find in your library
The different sections of a library are usually labelled on the book cases. Here are the main sections you might like to explore. Which sounds good to you?

This is any story that has been made up in someone’s imagination. Some bigger libraries divide up their fiction into different sub-sections too: if it’s a love story you are looking for, try the romance section … or if murder intrigues you – take a look in the crime section.

You might be interested in books for Young Adults so look out for this section. There are also often series of books in this section, so if you try one and like it you can finish the whole series.

These are books that are true, and cover a huge range of topics.

Most libraries use what’s called the Dewey system to sort and catalogue their non-fiction books, so it is easy to find the subject you are looking for. This is a number system. So, for example, books that have general information get a number between 0 and 100. Philosophy and psychology books are between 100 and 200, and so it goes to 900 where you can find historical books. A popular genre in history is biography and autobiography – the stories of people’s lives. These are found after 920.

And if you are looking for poetry and plays – they are in the 800s. Yes, it’s a bit confusing as they are certainly made-up, so are not ‘non-fiction’, but the Dewey system has made space for them as well!

But don’t worry if this is confusing: librarians are expert in the Dewey system – and indeed in all their books and resources – and are there to help you find the book you are looking for.

Computers and wifi
Many libraries have free wi-fi and access to computers. Ask your librarian what is available, and how to log on.

Your library card gives you access to so many incredible stories and interesting facts. And your librarian can help you even better than google can! Go on – sign up and explore your local library today.

Tell us: Do you belong to the library?