At some point most weeks we find ourselves at the play area in Rowntree Park, the biggest Viking hurtling down the slide and the littlest one trying to climb up it, often at the same time. When they’ve had enough running about and I’ve had enough of playing Health and Safety Officer, we sometimes treat ourselves to a drink at the Rowntree Park Reading Café. It’s a real gem of a café – delicious, great value hot drinks, simple and tasty light meals and the most tempting selection of homemade cakes all in a welcoming, family-friendly environment.
But that’s not all: the Reading Café doubles as a library (the clue’s in the name). There’s a surprisingly wide selection of books to choose from, from novels to cookery books, crafting know-how to self-help. There’s also a range of children’s books, some of which are for children to peruse at the table (baby wipes at the ready!) and others that can be borrowed with a valid York Card.
This week, on our usual visit to the Reading Café to warm up, I decided to introduce the biggest Viking to the delights of the library. I showed him the shelves packed with books he could choose from and, several lifetimes later (or so it seemed), he picked the one he’d like to take home. We then headed over to the machine that acts as a virtual librarian. With great excitement, biggest Viking scanned his York Card, scanned the book and took the receipt telling us when we need to take it back. I explained to him how we’ll borrow it for a while, read it and then return it. Needless to say, he thought it was the best thing ever. And so did I: he’s got a new book to read for free and, once he’s bored of it, we can take it back for someone else to enjoy. This is our local, but there are 14 libraries in York as well as the two reading cafes and mobile library service, so you’re never far from a heap of books to borrow. And lots of the libraries have storytelling sessions for children, too. I loved going to the library when I was little, and I now understand why my mum was so keen to take us. It’s free, warm (important at this time of year!) and full of exciting things to read and do. And now they serve nice coffee too. What’s not to like?
There are fourteen libraries across York, two reading cafes and a mobile library service. For more information on the different branches, visit the York Council website. To borrow a book, make sure you’ve got an up-to-date York Card.