Library Memories

Library Memories

Posted on October 22 by admin
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In honour of Ontario Public Library Week and Canadian Library Month, here’s a confession: from the time that I was around six until I was about ten I thought of my local librarian as one of my best friends, and I didn’t think it was weird. It was a bit of a joke in my family, starting early when I included her name in a school journal entry listing my best friends. But really, when you grow up in a library, why can’t the librarian be a friend?

My mom used to take us to the library all the time when I was very young. We would trek over with a wagon (for the books more so than for our tired feet) and spend hours in the kids’ reading room at the Ruth E. Dickinson branch of the Ottawa Public Library. My mom ran a daycare, so we were a bit of a troupe, and my little sister was infamous for pushing the emergency stop button in the library elevator. I'm not sure the librarians loved our boisterous visits, but it was a major part of my childhood.

Later on, my elementary school was across a parking lot from that same library, and me and a friend would go after school. I was still really young, but Amanda the Librarian recommended books and was always patient with my insatiable curiosity. She introduced me to a massive number of stories that I still count among my favourites—Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books probably most notably.

In my branch of the library, the kids’ area and the YA section were on different floors. I remember clearly ‘running out’ of books to read in the basement and having to make the jump to the YA section. It was a big deal in my mental list of things that meant ‘growing-up’.

When I was in the third grade I clearly remember Amanda the Librarian telling me about a ‘great book’ I had to read: she proceeded to spend ten minutes describing a baby wizard’s family dying and the baby being left on a front doorstep by another wizard and then excitedly saying ‘and that’s just the first chapter!’ It was, of course, Harry Potter.

Throughout elementary school and middle school I was part of various library book clubs and summer reading events, and was a regular at author readings and signings. I met authors like Deborah Ellis and Janet Lunn, among others, and had great opportunities to quiz my favourite authors on how books got made. I also used the library as an escape from my brother's hockey games-- lucky for me two of the local libraries were attached to arenas his teams frequented. I was hooked on the library and made great friends there-- librarians and fictional ones as well as real, kid friends.

Fast forward a number of years and I’m interning here at Dundurn and my love of books and curiosity about how books are made continues. I know for sure that, along with being read to by my parents and grandparents, my library and Amanda the Librarian played a major part in my career choice.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with fantastic memories of growing up in the library—tweet us your #librarymemories and don’t forget to tag Ontario Public Library Week with #OPLW. And make a point of visiting your library and thanking a librarian today!