Monday, 24 April 2017

SILENCE!

"Quiet please"
I am a person that likes to give books as presents at birthdays and Christmas. This all began when I was not long out of my toddler years. I just fell in love with reading at an early age. I joined my local library when 5 years old. 
I loved Saturdays, it was library day. My brown ticket was my passport to so many worlds. I would be allowed two books for two weeks, but I never lasted two weeks. I would be in to Ms. O’Donnell, the librarian, each Saturday morning.
It wasn’t big, about the size of a large sitting-room, maybe a little bigger but not much bigger, say about twelve feet by sixteen feet. In the centre of the room was a tall dividing set of bookshelves, as in shelves on both sides. This is what decided which section you were allowed into.
An anthology launch
The children’s section was to the right and the adult section to the left of this dividing structure as you walked in. Immediately inside on the right of the door was a large counter where you checked your books in and out. Behind this high counter which was much taller than any child, sat our only librarian. She was a low sized woman with glasses and a deep voice. She ran her library with a firm hand. No-one dared whisper in her presence. If you coughed or sneezed and couldn’t stop, it would not be unusual for her to ask you to leave, although you may be the only one in the room! Ah those were the days, simple and carefree.
Nancy Drew Mysteries, anything by Enid Blyton and of course the classics, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and the Bronte sisters. Worlds were opened up to me, my imagination was set as high as I allowed it and that was limitless. The choice of books to read was not extensive as you can imagine, not being a big library. So I went around those shelves in deep thought looking for the one book I had not yet read. There were a few of us that frequented the premises so much, it was almost a competition to see who would discover a valuable gem, a book from new stock which sneaked its way in during the week while we were at school. So having had every book in the children’s section read and re-read, the day came when I was allowed to move on. 
Excitement and butterflies danced in my stomach when that Saturday arrived and I told Ms. O’Donnell that I was now thirteen. Once I became a teenager, I was allowed in to the adult section, just six rows of it, mind you. Still I felt grown up, especially as my library ticket was now upgraded to a green one. Of course, once I read the six rows of books, I was back over in the children’s section looking for new stock. Oh the joys and innocence of growing up then for me.
Launch night of, A Baker's Dozen, 2012 in present day library.
My love for books never died. I still enjoy reading and still encourage anyone who will listen to me, to join their local library. It is a treasure trove for children and adults alike. The old library is now deserted, having outgrown its small room. It is now housed in what was before the protestant church. What a beautiful setting to read and write in. There are the arched windows, two flooring levels and beamed ceilings.  
Long since changed from when it was just a room divided in half, supervised by a lady who sat at the counter. A lady who presided like a judge as us children and I’m sure some adults were so nervous we dare blink in her presence. Her job of maintaining silence well executed. Yet we were all very fond of her and she us. She's long gone to her eternal reward. 
I still use the library, I try to go most mornings where I like to write my books. I've made many friends while writing there. A place so different from that one room long ago, now, computers sit along one wall, stands and stands of books, a colouring corner for the children, a section to go read the daily newspapers, and even a lift! 
I've celebrated receiving my contract from Tirgearr Publishing for my debut novel, My Husband's Sin and I launched my collection of short stories, A Baker's Dozen, both in our local library. Also the launches of two anthologies, that I was involved in, took place there, evenings shared with many friends and family. When I sit at a table there and write my thoughts, I often think of Ms. O’Donnell and wonder what she would make of it all.


4 comments:

  1. Thank you, Nonie, for taking the time to read it.

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  2. lovely read Mary, i too read everything Enid Blyton ever wrote and love the idea that you now sit as a writer in the same place that inspired you to become a writer! :)

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    1. Yes, Anne, it's amazing how the wheeel turns. Our new library is fantastic and the staff are amazing. Thank you for dropping by and reading it.

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