‘A library is where you can find out how to be you’ – Catherine’s story

Back in the day my mum used to take the three of us to the library.

It was before the days of timetabled children and she would never take us anywhere, except the library.

Ooh just thinking about those trips now give me chills, my very own ticket and I could take SIX books at a time out – for a book hungry little girl it was the ultimate treat.

We would walk there, often in memory in the depths of winter with the wind whistling and my sister moaning and me, quietly fizzing knowing what was to come. The building itself was beautiful, which libraries so often are, a Victorian public building obviously dedicated to the Book and All It Shall Tell Us.

Anyway this start led me through my life to which I have always looked to books to help me:

Desperate teenage goth who No One understands?

Check – Sylvia Plath and Bram Stoker and others sort out my neediness

Student needing a job ?

Check – got a job in the Uni Library while taking an English Degree which sorted out both body and soul.

Kids?

Yeah baby, got two little girls now and one of the most exciting things we do is go to the library

My six month old doesn’t get it yet but she will and my four year old LOVES it.

A library is where you can find out how to be you, it can provide solace if your heart needs it, teach you what good writing looks and feels like and most importantly lets you try new things with no commitment.

Music lovers have the radio – I adore 6 music but there is nothing like that for book heads –well except the library, I have had short flings with all sorts of writers but i have also started some long terms love affairs there, Poppy Brite, Neil Gaiman , Ian Rankin and Fred Vargas- all amazing writers I have discovered, at least in part via the library.

To sum up , I will be the best mum I can to my girls but as they grow and reach towards the sun I can only do so much, the local library is somewhere I can take them to try on identies via fiction and know, like Narnia if you open the door to a library you have the passport to so many new worlds.

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