I grew up in a household where reading was like breathing. As well has having bookshelves that were crammed full – double stacked where possible – from the age of 3 I paid a weekly visit to my local library in Putney. The sheer variety of books enabled me to end up with a reading age of 11 by the time I was 6. I credit it with giving me a passion for literature that helped me survive school and do well academically in spite of being disabled.
The pattern of visiting the library didn’t diminish even as I got older – even when I worked for a bookshop and spent 5 years in book publishing, the library was invaluable at allowing me to see + read the books from other publishing houses.
I still go to my library pretty much on a weekly basis; it’s my refuge from my hectic life in sales. I love the solemn silence when you go into a library – it’s very reverential! I love browsing all the different books – some just published, others that came out 20-30 years ago. Without my library I never would have read Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland, Diana Gabaldon, Jackie Collins, Jilly Cooper and many more.
Additionally my current library in Streatham has excellent facilities that many other local residents use – internet access, job clubs, homework clubs, book clubs, the local society as well as the excellent children’s section. Whenever I am in the library there are always kids checking out books, so important in an area of social deprivation. Streatham Library is so cool, we even had a VIP visitor recently – Santa!
I don’t have kids yet but when I do, I really hope that libraries will still be around for them.