The Joy of Libraries

When I was a kid, the library was my home away from home.

Mum had made sure that I had a library card as soon as I could toddle, and we visited our local library very two weeks.

I loved it.  I just loved it. I loved the smell of the books, much borrowed, thumbed and handled. it was the smell of adventure and unknown places. Places that I could only dream of ever visiting, adventures I longed to have.

I loved the sound of the stamp that the librarian used to place a red ink date on the borrowing slip of each book, (no computer systems then). Our librarian would sometimes allow me to stamp my chosen books myself.  Bliss!  

I loved how the library was set up.  The children’s books were way over in the back corner. You had to navigate a maze of high shelves to reach it, but it was worth the journey. There, the shelves were half-sized so as to allow small people to reach the top where the most exciting books were on display.  There were none of the beanbags or soft toys or colourful posters that I see when I visit my library today, just shelves…shelves and shelves of treasures.

The library that I remember was a place of mystery. One had to search through card catalogues, trail one’s fingers along cover after uninspiring cover, sift through returns trolleys to find the newest book in a series or the one book from a particular author that one had yet to read.

I would search out The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.  I read The Swiss Family Robinson, Heidi, Anne of Green Gables.  I would read them over and over. I would borrow books about places mentioned in those books of adventure. I learned about smugglers in Cornwall, the Revolutionary War and places like New England and the South Sea islands. Worlds of wonder were opened to me. I have several of those old favourites on my bookshelf still.

So, today., when I received an order from a library supply company for two dozen of my books, I was delighted. My books are going to be in libraries across Australia.  How exciting is that?!

Hopefully, I can, through those books, bring some of the joy and adventure I associate with libraries to a new generation of readers.

What books did you borrow from your library?  Are any of them still on your bookshelf?


By the way, Taya Bayliss – Dog Sitter is free on Kindle this week October 13 -17.  If you download it, please leave a review. It would be much appreciated.



2 thoughts on “The Joy of Libraries

  1. My childhood experiences relating to the village library were similar, Erica. The library was stationed at the community hall, where I would visit regularly with my grandfather. I would choose books whilst he read the newspapers displayed on stands with a vertical wooden bar that held them in place. There was such a special feel and smell associated with only that section of the hall. I enjoyed relating the stories in Welsh to my younger brother, with a few imaginary chapters added for extra effect. I verbalised and he illustrated a series about a fairy named Belinda, in particular, and we worked together on my first literary efforts later in life. I wish I had manuscripts of our childish efforts. They would be so much fun to look back on.

    1. Oh, how great would it be to have those stories! Aren’t you lucky to be bi-lingual? Language intrigues me. I studied Latin and German in school and remember a good deal of it. I used the German during my mis-spent youth
      whilst working for the British Army of the Rhine in Viersen, Germany. Latin is useful in connecting words in many languages. I have to admit that Welsh confounds me…I think it is the pronunciation of the sounds/letters. I lived in Cornwall for a few years and we would drive up into Wales for weekends away. I would attempt to read the signs. Hopeless, I’m afraid.

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