This a monthly feature for Mel’s Random Reviews where I wax lyrical about a place dedicated to books or reading. It can be a shop, market, website or even a place to curl up and read in. There’s no sponsorship involved and as such is subject to reversal, mood changes and general inaccuracies - I just want to share my favourite book places! I’m afraid it will be focused on London as it’s where I live and the place I do most of reading – but feel free to join in! If you have your favourite Book Temple you would like to share through a guest blog, please contact me – my email is on the right!
The book temple I want to focus on this month is my local library. I have to admit I don’t go there any more as I tend to buy my books now – I love owning them and putting them on display! But it was at the local library that I discovered my love of books and enabled me as a child and then as a teenager to explore imaginary worlds. I visited the Magic Faraway Tree and discovered the Famous Five. I learnt about My Best Fiend and Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. The variety of books and authors enabled me to explore and stretch my reading habit – I could chart my formative years by which area of the library I visited. So how did it all start?
My Mum is a big reader and so is my Gran. (It seems to run in the female genes of my family!). When I was young my Mum used to go to the local library every Saturday to pick up a selection of books for me. I remember going with her and sitting in front of one of those wooden boxes filled with picture books and flipping through the books until I came to one which I liked the look off. We would then pick four books (which was the maximum in those days) to take home and read for the rest of the week. As time passed I progressed from the picture books to banana books – small hardback books with pictures and writing telling a simple story. I then moved up to Enid Blyton and from there to more modern classics such as Judy Blume and Margaret Mahey. Before long I was into Sweet Valley High and then onto Point Horror and Christopher Pike.
The great thing about the library was that it’s a relaxed place – they didn’t mind if I took ages to choose a book and were helpful with giving me ideas on what to read next. I remember being so excited when the maximum books increased to eight – but even I had trouble reading eight books a week! It was a place where my Mum would disappear into the adult section and I would browse the children’s and then teenage shelves for whatever took my fancy. The best thing about libraries is that you can take a risk on books – if you don’t like them just return them and no harm done.
Libraries should be encouraged as not everyone can afford to buy new books every week. I loved my local library so much I spent two years there as a Saturday assistant with extra time during the school holidays. As I got older I drifted away from the library and started purchasing them more and more – I love the feel of a brand new book under my fingers, an unbroken spine! And while I currently dream of owning a room which I can create my own library in I don’t forget the place where my first love of books came from – the local library, my first book temple.
Are you a library member? Where did you get into reading? Do you get your books from a library? What to you like about your local library? Let me know!