People have been writing love letters to libraries. Book Week Scotland have urged us to write about our favourite library, and presumably preferably a Scottish one.
I don’t believe I have one; either a Scottish one, or even a current favourite library, anywhere. As you know, I don’t tend to visit them very much, already having too many books in the tbr pile. And that feels so wrong, but I can’t spend time visiting the library, borrowing books, which I then won’t read.
So my love letter has to be about a library from my past. I have blogged earlier about the main library of my childhood home town, so won’t repeat myself by doing it again. And that’s all right, since I feel that it was another library that really moved me. One that no longer exists.
Or so I suspect. We had a library at school. Obviously. And then we had a classroom library. For the first two years, I think it was, we only used the classroom library. I’m guessing it was in order to get us used to browsing and borrowing, while also offering age (seven and eight) appropriate books.
The books were spread out lining the classroom walls, and I think it was just one day a week. The rest of the time the books must have been kept in a box or a cupboard. There can’t have been many books, yet there was ample choice. I never felt there was anything lacking.
And I’m pretty sure the reason I kept re-borrowing one particular book wasn’t due to limited choice. I simply loved this book (which I have long forgotten the title of). I know my teacher noticed how often I carried it home to re-read over the next week. It was about a young girl in hospital, and I’m not sure why I was so fascinated by it.
We probably ‘had to’ borrow at least one book each week. There was no force involved for me, and I don’t think anyone had to actually read what they borrowed. I suppose in some cases there might even have been accidental reading happening. The book came home with you, and you just happened to read it if it looked more fun than you imagined a book could be.
I don’t know. But it was a good start. The classroom was safe and familiar, and so was the teacher acting as librarian.
And my reading has been a little more varied after that.