Sunday, 5 February 2012
Hurray for National Libraries Day!
... and to everyone - readers, writers, librarians, teachers, parents, children, council workers... and all the others who took part.
From what I heard, there was enthusiastic support for events held all over the country. Which all backs up the case of how important our libraries are to us (anyone listening, Mr Cameron?)
I had a wonderful time on my two library visits yesterday. Bell Green and Tile Hill libraries in Coventry both made me and fellow author Ann Evans very welcome. They publicised our events, put up posters and displays of our books, gave us refreshments and made us feel at home. I love libraries!
In spite of temperatures of minus 3, a good number of people turned up. We spoke about our experiences, good and bad, of writing, submitting and getting published. There were some great questions and we shared a fair few laughs. As always at these events, I was impressed to see keen writers there, especially young ones.But what shone out from the audiences was their love of books.
Highlights of my day:
(1) The librarian who told me about the problem kid who had to be banned from the library for 18 months but is now back - and reading.
(2) The lovely woman who picked up the library's copy of my Low Tide, Lunan Bay and took it to the counter to borrow it, saying she couldn't wait to read it. (Hope she likes it!)
It was a tiring day and we somehow didn't get time to eat our lunch, but not to worry. It convinced me, if ever I needed convincing, that libraries are a vital part of our culture. The libraries we visited were in areas of the city where many people are currently struggling to get by. These libraries are oases of warmth, entertainment and sanity, in contrast to an outside world that's often harsh, competitive and unwelcoming.
We let libraries go at our peril. People in power, please take note.