Did you spend much time in your library as a kid? Do you still now?
I loved our little library at the Orroroo Area School when I was a kid; if I lived in Orroroo I’d still love it. I remember out library being full of fun things like beanbags so we could snuggle in and read, tapes and games.
The one in Orroroo doubled as a kids school library, so it was on school grounds, but it also had books for adults to borrow. Thinking back, I think it was a pretty well equipped place for such a small town and school.
Our librarian was Miss Boyley, who knew all the kids by name, what they liked to read and what they didn’t. She ruled our fictional world with kindness, love and an iron fist. No dog-eared pages in her library! Back when I went to school, we had library lessons – yes, they were a real thing! And quite possibly they were my favourite lesson other than creative writing and silent reading. (Yes, I was one of those kids who LOVED silent reading.)
Midway through my primary school time, Miss Boyley changed to Mrs Mackay; I can still remember sitting down before she read us a story, saying, ‘now you have some time to get used to calling me Mrs Mackay, rather than Miss Boyley.’
Funny enough I never had any trouble with that. She was my across the road neighbour, I’d been to her wedding and I, to this day, still call her Mrs Mackay. She’s been a rock to me over the years.
Library’s are a safe place for the people who are like me and are misfits in the world. I spent hours during recess and lunch and after school in them, lost in the world of fiction and mystery and stories. And what good stead that has stood me in for this career I had no idea I was going to have!
A wonderful librarian is an important commodity. They cultivate a love of reading, respect of arts and culture and are the custodians of story telling.
As time has gone on, libraries are even more than that. Community libraries are internet cafes, have digital books, audio books, you can’t possibly say they haven’t moved with the digital age. They have. They run courses for older citizens on technology, smart phones, writing… Almost anything you can imagine and how priceless is that? To the young mum who is exhausted and gets a ten minute break during story time, to the elderly person who hasn’t spoken to anyone else for a week (I always cry when I think about that), to the homeless who need access to the internet or doesn’t have anywhere to go and get a coffee. The people who are run these libraries are important and special and have a huge empathy to the rest of the world. It’s the people inside these buildings who make them an incredible resource.
People say that libraries aren’t good for authors because they don’t sell books. I beg to differ. They give us a space to promote our books; often inviting book sellers along. They also buy a few copies of books, giving the people who can’t afford, or chose not to buy books, the opportunity to read new releases.
I have yet to find a bad thing about a library!
So, from me to the Orrorooo Community Library (Mrs Mackay and Mrs Rosenblatt) and the one at Annesley College (Mrs Clarke and Mrs Jones) and from anyone who loves libraries as much as I do, thank you fostering our young people’s love of reading, for helping the people who need it and for loving stories as much as I do.
Where’s your favourite library?