Tuesday 29 January 2013

Libraries I have known: Four

While I was at secondary school I don't remember frequenting any libraries apart from the school one, which seemed only to contain Career Advice.

Four: Lancaster University Library

Lancaster was the next library I knew. This was the first library where I felt the excitement of reading and learning new things. I learned to skim-read at Lancaster and pick out juicy bits from a big stack of books. I had Ideas at Lancaster University Library. I would often be forced to sit with friends who, looking back, I didn't really want to sit with. I liked sitting on my own in the library with my Ideas and my Thoughts. 

It was while I was at Lancaster that I discovered how much I loved writing. I remember realising one day that I could, in fact, do whatever I wanted. 

Being a student meant time - time to sit on a kick stool in the stacks and flick through peoples' brains.

Monday 21 January 2013

Libraries I have known: Two and Three

Two: Newport Pagnell Public Library*

There were two small public libraries near my house, but for some reason, we only visited the one in Newport Pagnell (we went to Olney for the market on Thursdays and to Bedford to get our hair cut).

We would go to Newport Library on Saturdays mostly - the only books I remember getting out were Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas and Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne. Newport Library had a very colourful children's section and I was proud of my very own library card. My only other memory of the library was that I always wanted to get out books that were far too young for me. I had my own copy of The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark, and read it over and over.


Three: Austin Public Library, Old Quarry Branch

We spent some time in Texas when I was nine, with my dad's work. While there we would head to the Austin Public Library every Monday evening, before going for ice cream at the local mall. I have no recollection of what we read or borrowed, but for some reason the library is the one I imagine when I read Roald Dhal's Matilda. Perhaps I read that there, or perhaps I felt as small as Matilda in that giant building. While we lived in Austin I read The Wombles and Ramona The Brave. At school, I had to do a book review of The Lemonade Trick. I didn't manage to finish the book, being a very slow reader, but I managed to do a drawing for the front of the review. 


*More recently I have borrowed CDs, DVDs and audio books from Newport Pagnell Library and given a reading there.

Monday 7 January 2013

Libraries I have known - One

MK mobile library - bouncy floor, looking up at the counter

I recently visited Gladstone's Library (formerly St. Deiniols) in Hawarden - while I was there I was reminded of many other libraries that I have utilised. There are more than I thought:

One - The Milton Keynes Mobile Library

The library would stop outside my school and we would all go out to choose a book. The floor was bouncy and there was a small window at one end that we went to to take out books. I don't remember any specific books that I borrowed, just that I was into FuzzBuzz at the time.*

My impression of this library at the time was that it was great. Probably more for the novelty than for the books. I liked springing on the floor and I liked that it was a bus with books in it - so convenient.

*SHOCKER: I've just found out via Wikipedia that FuzzBuzz books were 'for school age children who may be experiencing problems with reading.' I suppose it's fair enough that they didn't tell me at the time that I was in the 'remedial' group - I thought everyone read FuzzBuzz.