Universes waiting in those lumps of glued and stitched paper – Jim

I cannot imagine the way my life would have gone without my local library: Oakwood Library, Leeds. I was brought up in a ‘back-to-back’ house with no bathroom and hardly any books. Somewhere around my 8th year I came across this library, a welcoming haven in a large stone-built house. I had never imagined there was so much! The worlds that I found in those books were a revelation; not just the different worlds within the pages, but the fact that those worlds could actually exist at all. Here I found Jules Verne, Homer, Arthur C. Clarke and Jonathan Swift. More important, I found Lilliput, space travel, ancient Troy and submarines…

I read greedily. borrowing my maximum allocation of books, and spending as long as I possibly could curled up in the library window in a world that was very different from the cramped and noisy place I lived. The library itself was warm, roomy, and quiet. It was inviting and unhurried. Although words and ideas have been my trade for an (almost) entire working career, I find it hard to express how important Oakwood library was in opening my eyes and my imagination to the universes waiting in those lumps of glued and stitched paper.

Since the decade I spent visiting that library I have used many University libraries, been enrolled into the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and had the pleasure of authoring a little printed work of my own. But that local little free library was absolutely crucial to me. I treasure it still, and hate the thought that such magical havens might come to be inaccessible…

Jim

One thought on “Universes waiting in those lumps of glued and stitched paper – Jim

  1. Jasmine

    Hi Jim your story meant a lot to me because I was very much the same, I wasnt very social as a child and was to embarresed to talk to anyone and I very much to solace in my public library.

    It started my love for mythology and I am now very happily studying it at university.

    Without my library I could not have branched out and talked to other people with the same interests as me.

    I completely agree with you, I would hate to have it close down because it still brings back so many great memories.

    Reply

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