When I was young I used to enjoy visits to libraries, they were a place of refuge. Peaceful, quiet, a nice atmosphere, the smell of books. And I enjoyed reading.
Now .it's all changed.
My local library ( as have most of the libraries in the city) has been refurbished and renamed a community hub.
Now there are few books, .lots of computers, uniformed security guards, meeting rooms, help and advice experts on council services, jobs & benefits. And finally the local post office has closed down and moved into this library itself.
On one side of the room there is a bookcase and next to it a queue of people using the post office.
I miss the old traditional libraries. With wooden bookshelves, books, a librarian and cardboard library tickets in books with dated stamps.
The old libraries with wooden bookshelves and actual books had a certain magic.
Since childhood I felt safe and at peace in a library. Reading old and new books, the smell of the paper.
Now they are almost gone. The library I visited yesterday, is awful. Actually I had a two hour meeting there with my mental health employment advisor and I was using the computer applying for my latest job. A part time post paying £26ph.
The computer desks take up more space than the book shelves. There was a uniformed security guard with a radio and possibly a camera built into his uniform. There was a long queue to use the three post office counters. The bookshelves are metal and plastic. There was a loud children's group in one corner.
I have been concerned about meetings involving private sensitive information being held in public spaces in libraries within ear shot of other people. I would definitely want such a meeting to take place somewhere private. I had to pay for a meeting room in my village hall in order to see my Union rep while off work. She wasn't allowed to visit my home and I did not feel comfortable talking about work problems in a cafe or library where other customers might know me or my boss. Does the library you go to have a private meeting room? Some do.
I had that issue when I met up with my Behaviour Manager and my HR Manager the other week. They suggested we meet up at a local quiet cafe as I didn't want to go to my workplace. Whilst there, the HR Manager asked me if I would like an appointment with Occupational Health, to which I agreed. She then produced a long questionnaire and asked me questions from it. These included personal details, details of my medical history, details of my work issues. She asked them in a loud voice, and I was convinced that a man at an adjacent table was listening in. I should have spoken up, but I just wanted to get the whole thing out of the way. In the end, I said I wasn't feeling comfortable and would like to leave. I can't believe that senior managers like that could be so careless and negligent.