Anyone who knows me will know that if there’s something going on associated with libraries then I’m THERE! Yes, I work in a library, but I have been a library user all of my life and I intend to continue being so, regardless of whether I work in that environment or not.
So, naturally, I am absolutely loving the feature that The Guardian have been running this week, which involves leading authors writing a love letter to a library of their choice. The idea has come from Book Week Scotland and anyone can take part in sharing the love for their libraries, whoever you are and wherever you are. Library users are encouraged to write a love letter to their favourite library – in whichever format you like – and share it on the Guardian website (or even send it to your library!) For more information click here. Don’t forget to check out all of the fabulous authors who have written love letters to their libraries here.
It’s not weird AT ALL to write a love letter to the place in which you work…right!??? Ok, maybe a little. I write my letter purely as a customer, ok? That must make a me a little less weird…
I remember when we were first introduced. I have my Mum to thank for that particular discovery and it’s been one adventure after the other ever since.
After school trips to the library were the best. I had no trouble whatsoever deciding which books I was going to borrow. That one about hedgehogs. That Roald Dahl one. Practically the whole Animal Ark series. After all you were allowed ten books – surely it would be a waste to not check out the full capacity?
“How are we going to carry all of these home?” My Mum would ask in exasperation. I was five so this was of little importance to me – I HAD BOOKS. Who cares about the minor details?
They say that the course of true love never runs smooth and there have been difficulties in our relationship. There was that time when I desperately wanted to borrow a massive book about the animal kingdom but it was Reference only and I wasn’t allowed. Then there was the time when the ten book allowance was unsubstantial; I had picked out fifteen, how was I to decide which ones to put back??
Aside from these small tiffs, all of my library memories are happy ones and it feels as though I have a memory to accompany most stages of my life.
My lovely Grandad would take me in the school holidays & I would be delighted at being let loose in the children’s section for half an hour whilst be went off and browsed the ‘grown-up books’.
At junior school my Dad would take me on a Saturday morning to use the computers (usually to complete homework but I often snuck in a look at the Beanie Babies website whilst I was on the job…)
The times when I would race through the Jacqueline Wilson section, delighted when I spotted a new title or one I hadn’t read before.
Then gradually progressing onto that mythical ‘Teenage’ section. This is how I knew I was properly grown up.
I remember saying to my Dad once that books should be on the NHS. He looked at me strangely and said ‘That’s what libraries are for’ and I suppose he was right.
You have accompanied every stage of my life and helped me to learn so many new things. You have helped me with hobbies and homework and everything in between. Now, I have you to thank for SO MANY of the authors that I adore today.
You don’t want my money, you ask for nothing in return yet provide so much pleasure, help, knowledge and encouragement to people of all ages.
You provide a million different services for a million different people, but on a completely selfish level the thing that I love the most about you is…FREE BOOKS!
Lots of bookish love,
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges