Sunday, 6 March 2011

World Book Day or Me and My Library

Last night in the UK over a million books were given away as we celebrated World Book Day and Night, and yesterday I did what I do most weekends and went to my local library.  I am one of the really lucky ones to never live more than 10 minutes away from a library.

My first library was a brand new one, built in the 1960s at Kent Elms corner.  I still remember having to queue up after school on the day it opened with my two pink junior library tickets and dashing down to the end of the library to find two shelves down on the left hand side the holy grail for me - a shelf of Enid Blyton books: Secret Seven, St Clare's, Mallory Towers, Noddy, The Faraway Tree, The Naughtiest Girl in the School - there were times when my mother thought she would never get me into the Adult Library with its jade coloured tickets.

 Then I moved to Limehouse and the rather imposing Passmore Edwards Library with it fabulous wooden panels and to my shame I did something really awful there.  I lost a book.  It was a copy of Harper Lee's, To Kill a Mocking Bird, which I left behind in the women's common room in the London Hospital Student Union.  As you can tell, many years later I still feel badly about this.

Then it was on to Cable Street in Stepney, which was a pre-fab building, complete with corrugated iron roof which leaked copiously during rain storms so that  librarians and readers ran about with buckets to capture the drips.  Best of all was the fantastic mural of the 1936 Cable Street riots when the East End stood full square against the tyranny of Oswald Moseley's Blackshirts.

Then back to Leigh-on-sea where my library is the old rectory for St Clement's church.  This library serves the whole community from tiny tot to OAP and everybody in between.  With its knowledgeable band of librarians who will recommend books and find you a new and exciting author. And best of all when you have chosen your books, you can slip out in the Spring sunshine and sit in the Library Gardens and read your book, occasionally glancing up to see the tide coming in on the estuary. Life is sometimes very beautiful.

So, if you have time today, pick up your favourite book, read a couple of chapters, thank your lucky stars that you are able to read and escape to another world.  Then when you go to your local library, remember to say thank you to the librarians for being there because for many in the UK our libraries are facing swingeing cuts.  We need libraries, we need books, we need reading to make us the civilised society we need to be.

So do you have a fave book?  Let me know what it is and why I should read it.


Ros Made Me said...

Just had a call from my friend Sally, she was given Nigel Slater's Toast in our local Tesco Metro last night as one of the free giveaways for World Book Night. I am feeling miffed cos I went to the Co-op instead... I wonder if she will lend it to me when she has finished?

Yarn Dependent Me said...

My current favorite book is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It's nice and big, so you get a good long adventure.

Ros Made Me said...

Ooh, I have just googled it and it looks like a book I should try, lots of historical meat in it.

Am currently reading a Jeffrey Deaver on the train which is a murder mystery and is currently all about data mining and how you gather information about people through their buying habits. I really did not want to get off the train today.

Mimi and Cakes said...

I recently read The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Literary Society. It tells the story of a German occupied Guernsey in the second world war and a group of people who find solace in reading and meeting regularly. A lovely gentle read and a heart warming love story!

Another fave is Guernica - based in Basque country. You get to meet these wonderful characters and then hear how their lives were obliterated by the German air raid. Not very light reading I know but blimin' brilliant!

Ooh, and have you read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc etc. Really gripping, especially the first one.

I'm reading The Help at the mo. Set in the deep south of America in the 1960s. Which is a bit of a shocker but, again, lovely, lovely characters.

Ros Made Me said...

Lisa - I read The Help, hated finishing it, read really slowly when it came to the last 20 pages as I did not want to finish it. Read the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Literary Society too, which I really enjoyed, had never considered what it must have been like on the Channel Islands during the War before I read it.

Am definitely going to try the Stig Larssen soon... after the Vintage & Craft fair, maybe...

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