A 35 year love affair with the library …

It’s National Library week.

I’m a library fan , but this past fortnight I realised that it’s way more than that.

I remember getting my first library card. My cousins took me to the library with them and there it was , my key to books. Loads of books . Any book I wanted I could pick up and take home for a while . I must have only been 3 or 4 but I remember getting that card , the stamp in the book.

As my sister and I got older family trips to the library were a Saturday morning staple. My parents ,my sister and I would head off to the library . We’d be in there ages. There was never any rush and pushing to pick quickly (like my kids have had from me plenty enough times) We’d all be in our separate sections of this quiet ,calm building filled with books. My dad looking for a clever spy novel , mum finding a gruesome horror , little sister finding something ghoulishly funny and me looking for the next author I could discover and binge ! Like a Netflix box set marathon , only with books !!

We’d go do a bit of family visiting then home and we’d all disperse and read . The concept seems quite funny to me now a household of 4 – no TV on , no games consoles just sat with our books and probably a cup of tea.

As years passed and that tradition of a Saturday of ours faded for one reason or another and I became a teenager the library was still a big part of my life (I wasn’t a cool teenager !!). My summer holidays were spent biking to library and back then just sitting on my bed and gorging on Paula Danziger and Judy Blume books . My mum would implore me to get outside for some ‘fresh air’ but I had all I needed. A pile of books ,my brain and my cosy bedroom.

When I had kids of my own the library becomes an exciting trip out – a free exciting trip out ! You can’t argue with that. Before small girl started school we used to go to the library so often we virtually had our own beanbag spot!!

So I’ve always loved the library ,it’s always been a staple in my life. I can almost document my life in books . I remember the books I would get out on a fortnightly basis because I loved them so much I had to read them over and over .

Then the recent dark days in my life happened . Not just a murky grey kind of time but as black as it can get. My mental health took such a crash for a couple of days I could barely speak , I couldn’t think straight certainly. I needed comfort but I didn’t want people. I definitely didn’t want people .

I walked to the library. I don’t really remember the walk for the swirling, crashing ,jumbling of thoughts going on in my head . I just felt drawn to it .

I walked in , collapsed at one of the desks and just felt calmer . I don’t know if it’s the still quiet of the library (I know you are allowed to talk now but people dont really) or if it was being surrounded by books the one thing I’ve been able to turn to given any mood . Something about sitting there though , in that building , with the smell of books and the quiet whirr of a computer printer and the chairs that have seen better days . Something grounded me a bit , calmed me a little . The whirling in my head slowed to a gentle cycle .

The library is my calm place. Any library , any building filled like that with books and people wanting to read them is good for my soul.

I’m aware that libraries are being shut , and downsized and having their opening hours cut and this angers me and upsets me but that’s a rant for another day.

I’ll just leave you with a quote I read on Twitter by the author Matt Haig

Libraries are and always have been magical to me. A gateway to creativity that doesn’t care how old you are , what race you are ,how rich you are .They just sit there full of all those glorious words , waiting for us to go and discover them.

As the young ‘uns may say . Cool af !!

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32 thoughts on “A 35 year love affair with the library …

  1. Know what I love about this? I love taking my kids t the library. Once I get them in the library, I often struggle to get them back out! I hope they also have a lifetime love affair with the library. It is like a day out and libraries are so much more accommodating than when I was younger. They’re fun places. Thanks for highlighting my blog post in #blogcrush and thanks for co-hosting the linky.

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  2. I love the library too! When we visit cities we often visit them – the most recent one was in Boston. It was wonderful to see rows of old books and the famous room full of students with their heads in the pages. I used to take my children most weeks. I’m so pleased to hear it’s still a ‘thing’ xx Maria

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  3. Making me feel guilty … I tried but it never really took off for us and the kids … and now my teenage daughter doesn’t read like she used to, and getting my son to try and pick a book was an agony. He just never got into them … apart from all the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books. You wouldn’t mind but our library itself is a beautiful, award-winning converted old church, and the librarians, and what they offer, are all wonderful #BlogCrush

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      1. It’s not that our boy isn’t literate … he is a brilliant speller, and articulate. His essays are really articulate and clear, it’s more he has never been one for frills and phrasing (stuff I love and his sister loves). it’s just he never seemed to see the need for stories and all the stuff we might value!! He might read Crouchy alright. Some of the excerpts are very funny: ask your son about the time he pulled up beside Roy Keabe at the traffic lights in his fancy car!

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      2. Ha ha he does keep on with little anecdotes!!! I guess the frilly bits of literature aren’t really necessary….we just really like them!!!

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  4. I absolutely love our local library! I haven’t used it as much as I should have though. We do go to the rhymetime class, but I am a bit scared that my 2 year old will destroy any book we take out at the moment. I used to adore the smell of the library where I grew up. #BlogCrush

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  5. I love this Kelly, libraries are fantastic! You never meet a grumpy person in a library, well i haven’t. DD and i venture to our local library every fortnight and borrow 3-5 books. I will admit sometimes picking the books is a chore for me but most of the time it is exciting, i love watching DD’s face as she sees what new and wonderful characters she will be hearing about shortly. This is definitely a #BlogCrush

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  6. I also have a love affair with the library! I remember as a student visiting our town library and being wnthralled by the smell of he books, the comfort of the armchairs and thinking to myself that I couldn’t wait to be a mum so that I could bring my onw kids to such a magical place! Like you I also love the tanquility (alhtough my kids haven’t appreciated that). We are going this afternoon in fact, our books are due back. #blogcrush

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  7. I love going to the library. Loved it as a child too. Me and my sister would walk a mile from our house to our local library every Saturday afternoon. It became trip I looked forward to weekly. There’s something about the peace and quiet, the looking through books and the smell of them x #BlogCrush

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  8. I just recently rediscovered the beauty of having a library card again and blogged about because it’s become so important to me now that I have kids. We go and pick out books to read together. It’s actually the most brilliant way to read for free! #BlogCrush

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  9. I like you more and more as I read your stuff. My library memories are about Dad taking me every Saturday to the library. There were huge wooden bookshelves and I loved the idea of so much knowledge in one place. I would also sneak off from school skiving off to go and read better books or ones I thought were better anyway and that went into greater depth. I was once in the library when an Earth tremor happened and everyone just kept reading so I thought I had a funny turn until I got home and saw reports of the tremor on the news. Libraries can open so many worlds for all which may well be why they are being cut so much in recent years so we all behave ourselves and question less. You have got me started but fundamentally, yes, here’s to library and someone should write a book about a love affair that starts in a library and probably has but I am all inspired now! #BlogCrush

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  10. I take our girls to the library at least once a week. As well as the books there’s lots of other activities for the children, our 4 year old loves Rhythm and Rhyme time, and the 9 year old loves picking her own books and scanning the out. Libraries are definitely under used but a very valuable part of a child’s growth and development.

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  11. I too like libraries a lot, especially large, old, library buildings. I really loved the old university library in Lund (Sweden) where I went to uni. Love the smell of old books too, and the feeling of paper. We haven’t been taking Penguin to libraries that much until recently, mainly because we didn’t live close to any. Now we’ve got one within walking distance, we’ve started going quite regularly. It’s not the relaxing experience I would have perhaps hoped for though, lol xx
    #BlogCrush

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  12. I’ve always loved reading (I was the teenager who would walk around the house with my nose in a book because I couldn’t bear to put it down even for a second!). We’ve always taken the kids to our local library, but a few months ago, we went to the city’s central library and it was AMAZING – a proper old school library – the kind that feels magical as soon as you step through the door! I could sit in that place for hours! I’m glad you found somewhere that helped to ground you. Books are like old friends sometimes #blogcrush

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