I was never the girl who grew up wanting a closet of Chanel handbags. Quite the opposite. I was and still am the girl who wants a whole room in her forever home dedicated to books. My own library where people can come and pick up a book and enjoy the words that bring me joy.
Libraries have always been a part of my life. Before I moved to the UK, I lived opposite the local library where I spent most of my time whenever I went back to visit my grandparents in Canada. Starting in the children’s suite to then using then computer for 15 minutes so I could IM my friends.
In primary school, my favourite part of the classroom were the bookshelves. Even to this day, I instantly gravitate to any part of the room where there are shelves of books.
When I was in secondary school, I had trouble finding my place. I didn’t really feel like I fit in. My friends were Hermione Granger or the kids from The Secret Garden not the kids in my class. Naturally, one of my favourite parts of the school was the library. It was the first place where I felt I fit in. I was around other people who liked books and reading and I ended up being one of the youngest librarians the school had. I loved nothing more than sitting in the library before it opened eating my lunch getting ready for the shift or discovering new books. I loved finding out what books people were reading. Being in the library made me feel safe and like I belonged.
Economically, although I have never gone without, I grow up in privilege. Even though I was young, I knew money didn’t grow on trees and books cost money so I would make each book my parents bought me last as long as I could. I would re-read books over and over again falling in love with the words again each time. I saved trips to the bookshop for days we ventured to the Trafford Centre. It would be the treat I asked my parents for (which I think, in the grand scheme of things, they were grateful for) So in between these trips my school and local libraries proved to be my saviours. I would spend delightful hours going through the shelves trying to find the next Famous Five book I wanted to read.
These days I still use libraries. They offer a community for those who don’t have community. Local libraries do more than just provide you to pick up books. They give you a safe space you can be yourself. You can sit with friends and discuss the latest book you have read, work with the staff to build up your portfolio, many are also home to other local services and museums to go alongside the beautiful amount books these buildings hold. So do yourself a favour, make a visit to your local library today.