When I was a kid, I used to spend recess and lunch in the library.
I guess there’s a few of you who think that’s a bit geeky and boring; for me it was anything but.
The quietness and coolness of the Orroroo Community Library, where my great friend, Mrs Mackay, was the librarian for years, was a magical, mystical place. I could plonk myself down in the beanbags which lined the walls and read until my heart was content. I’d read all the books that I wasn’t allowed to read at home, plus more. Do you remember Judy Blume’s Forever? My Mum did everything in her power to stop me from reading that book, but it was in the library! How about Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret? Mum was very disapproving of these books, and I’m sure she didn’t know I was reading all sorts of Mills and Boon books. I out grew them pretty quickly, but everyone has a rite of passage with Mills and Boon!
As I went into higher primary school, I would read non-fiction books; I loved to read anything I could get my hands on about sharks. (I’m going to go down in a shark cage once all this COVID stuff is over! Something I’always wanted to do!) I’d read about agriculture and things that interested me.
Christy by Catherine Marshall was another favourite. Anything that was a little rebellious I would devour.
I can remember how excited I was to get my own library card! 15OV was the card number. I think I was about year two or three when I got that and here I am, nearly thirty five years later and I can still remember the number, I’m not sure if Mrs Rosenblatt (the current librarian at Orroroo would let me borrow on that card now.)
When I went to boarding school, I was dreadfully homesick and the library was my safe haven. Mrs Clarke and Jones were welcoming and let me help cover the new books during my recess and lunches. I’d sit and read the encyclopaedias (yes, again, I know that sounds geeky and boring, but they were so INTERESTING!) and had first dibs on all the new books that came through the library.
Community libraries such as the one in Orroroo are so important; they are places elderly can go for a chat, while they get their next lot of books, a place for young mums to have a breather, while the kids listen to ‘story time’. The place for people to use the computers, and write out their CVs.
I really don’t think there is any more important place for a community, than the local libraries.
What are your memories of your library?