Today is NATIONAL LIBRARIES DAY
Which celebrates all libraries: public libraries, school libraries, university libraries, prison libraries, law libraries etc. It also celebrates librarians, members and supporters across the UK.
Why not have a world-wide Celebration of Libraries?
We’d be lost without them!
I love reading because of libraries and I have no doubt, that I am a writer today, because of all the books I devoured from their vast shelves . . .
I spent weekends and holidays at my gran’s and remember fondly, from the age of seven, walking to Inchicore Library, Dublin, each day where I would spend hours scouring the shelves for their latest offering. I would hand in my two green tickets and in return, I was allowed to take two precious books home. They would have been read, from cover-to-cover, and returned the following afternoon when I’d walk back through the swinging half-door to repeat the process. Years later, after reading Stephen King’s, ‘IT’, I could see that scarey clown, in my mind’s eye, standing right there!
But way back then, it was Enid Blyton’s books, ranging from; The Faraway Tree; Brer Rabbit or Noddy to The Secret Seven; The Famous Five and The Five Find-Outers (remember Fatty with his fabulous disguises and Buster and Mr Goon?). I wonder in current re-prints if Fatty has changed his name? Everyone loved him in the books and it was only ever used as a term of endearment – but different times. Ditto with Noddy and Big Ears . . .
I remember moving on to HE Todd’s Bobby Brewster books – do you remember Bobby with the magic kite, magic lamp or the magic hair that stuck up at the back of his head? Or the Mrs Pepperpot books by Alf Prøysen – the poor woman spent more of her life shrinking at the most inopportune moments, to be saved by her black cat who would take her home on his back – just in the nick of time. I was enchanted by the magical stories about The Five Children (and it), written by E Nesbit, but when my cousin Charlie, after spending the afternoon teaching me to play chess, gave me his copy of ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’, I had to be prised from the pages. It is still, to this day, one of my all-time favourite books – thanks Charlie! I gobbled it up along with the rest of the Narnia chronicles and had the pleasure of re-living them all again when my children came along.
Although I received hundreds of books over the years, without my local library, my parents would never have been able to keep up with my reading appetite. Today, with purse strings a little tighter, we should be making the most of this great facility we have on our doorsteps – to be able, for free, to borrow brand new books which have just arrived in the shops; older books by a new author you’ve recently enjoyed; to be able to search out and borrow books which are no longer in print and to research absolutely any topic under the sun. Do we cherish our libraries as much as we should? When was the last time you visited your local library? You might be surprised to see the rows of PC’s, racks of CD’s and shelves of DVD’s. Fans of the eReader can borrow books, from the comfort of their own home, without ever having to worry about fines – the books magically return to the library on their due date!
I am fortunate to be a member of The County Library, Tallaght, where, along with fellow writers and poets from local writing groups, we had the opportunity to Read our work. Sign up for emails at your local library, to keep you informed of events they run, which can be anything from free Readings to free Spanish or creative writing classes . . .
I look forward, immensely, to your comments on your favourite library and your favourite children’s books – and hopefully one or two of you may remember some of mine!
Posted on February 4, 2012, in Events, Writing and tagged Alf Prøysen, Bobby Brewster, books, Celebration of Libraries, CS Lewis, E Nesbit, Enid Blyton, eReader, Famous Five, Five Find-Outers, Inchicore Library, It, law libraries, librarians, Libraries, Library, Mrs Pepperpot, National Libraries Day, National Library Day, prison libraries, public libraries, school libraries, Stephen King, Tallaght, The County Library, university libraries. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.