Why libraries are important to me...

I am thrilled to have been chosen as Reader in Residence for East Lothian Libraries. I want to pack so much into my year. I can't wait for it all to begin!

I have long been passionate about reading and the importance of libraries.

I remember my nana telling me how my grandfather loved the library. My dad gave me a copy of 'The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists', my grandfather's favourite novel, when I got into University. My father told me how my grandfather had loved books, loved the library, valued the knowledge, the education he gained there.  

I remember my mum and I exploring the local library together, I have an early memory of sitting in a chair in the library with my books held tight, waiting for my mum, always the bookworm.

I remember as a teenager finding great solace in the library. The discoveries, the peace, the possibilities it offered me were endless. In that time before google, it was the joy of reference books, piled like a mountain in front of me, on that desk I loved, in that corner of my local library. How I scaled the foothills there, for that Modern Studies project, for that essay, for that adventure!

I never felt that I needed more than a library card to educate myself, to plan my trip, to learn to cook, to sew, to pick up that book about step, yoga, pilates, running, about the French Revolution, about Portugal, about John Muir. That 'Dummies Guide to the Internet', that biography, that book of DIY, that book about migraines, that book about growing veg, about starting a business, about the Suffragettes, about living on a budget and of course, there were those books borrowed, those novels, those books of short stories, those collections of poetry that had me transported, had me on a moor, on a fast train, in the midst of a crime, in the aftermath of tragedy, those books that taught me how complex, how beautiful, how terrible, of all the ways to live a life.

Those books of poetry I searched for, for that poem, for that just right poem, for that special day, for those sad days, for those cards of sympathy I needed to send.

There was the time I came rushing in a panic to print out my C.V for my first job.

The book of family first aid, all those baby's first days books after my son was born, then that book on baby weaning, on toilet training, on toddlers' tantrums.... the book for this, for that, for everything!

It was in a library whilst reading to my first child, in that cuddle, without the pressures of home, in that busy wee kids corner, that it felt like maybe, maybe I could be good enough, that here I had a chance at getting it right for him. Here, we could scale the heights together. In Bookbug holding him close, I shared the joy of community and we took home those songs learnt, the friendships made and folded them in, making our lives so much richer.

In these hard and almost impossible times, we should not forget these riches our local libraries can offer us, at all the times in our lives. We can grow with our libraries and they can and do, grow with us too.


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