Friday, 5 February 2016

Library Love – Writers Library Memories featuring Sue Wallman, Rita Borg and Candy Gourlay

Continuing our Library features on the run up to National Library day, some lovely writers have shared with us some of the reason why they love libraries…

Sue Wallman - author of young adult thriller LYING ABOUT LAST SUMMER

Pretty much every Saturday morning of my childhood I visited Christchurch Library in Dorset. To be honest I didn't have much else going on. I read all sorts of things I wouldn't have come across otherwise, and I'd pounce on the new books. Sometimes I'd find books that literally hadn't been taken out for years and I'd feel sorry for them and give them an outing. The librarians were a miserable bunch but that didn't matter because I hid away in the upstairs section. I went back there recently and it had completely changed. There was a fantastic young adult area, loads of scheduled activities and the librarians smiled at me. I love how libraries have evolved - they are warm, lively and friendly places and it's so sad they have to fight for survival.

Sue Wallman, author of young adult thriller LYING ABOUT LAST SUMMER, published on 5th May by Scholastic @swallman

Rita Antoinette Borg – Storyteller and Children’s Author

My library on Riverside Drive in New York City was the only place my father let me go to on my own. The

Adult Book Section was upstairs: the Children’s Books Section was downstairs.

One day downstairs, I read the last page of a picture book” Tikki Tikki Tembo” by Arlene Mosel.

Then, I whispered to the librarian,” Where can I find the book,” The Good Earth”, by Pearl Buck?”

The librarian smiled and said, “ That’s upstairs. Are you ready to read the upstairs books?”

I nodded, but I wasn’t sure.

“My teacher said to read “Good Earth”’, I said, clenching my lips together.

“All right then, “ said the librarian, who knew me well, “ You can go upstairs, Rita. It’s on the very first shelf. If you can’t reach it call me.”

I ascended the staircase as if landing on an alien planet, deep in outer space. Breathing in, I gazed around the new floor. I had made it. I bounded to the first bookshelf.

I found the book.

I couldn’t reach it.

I climbed one shelf, two shelves, three shelves.

I grabbed the book, held it tight and jumped down. The pages fell open. There and then, I departed on my first adult voyage to China.

Rita Antoinette Borg grew up near Central Park in New York City. Always reading and learning, she writes magazine articles, poetry and stories. She visits schools as a storyteller and children’s author. She has seven books published, and a picture book about an alien is soon on its way; along with a long poem about dolphins in an anthology. Rita has three kids, a husband who is a microbiologist and a border collie named Dakota. Rita now resides in Malta, but misses New York City very much.

Candy Gourlay – Author of Tall Story and Shine

It takes one book to change someone's outlook on life. And the someone who delivers that life-changing book could be a librarian near you.

I was the librarian's pet at my school - Miss Evelyn Diaz was her name. I must have been nine? Eight? Twelve? I am of the age now where the memory is all a blur. But I remember the books. Towers of them! We were only allowed to borrow two at a time but Miss Diaz kept some under the counter for me and when nobody was looking stamped me through with four, five, six in one go.

As a grade schooler, I loved the mystery serials. I borrowed every single serial there was - The Beverley Gray Mysteries, The Hardy Boys, The Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Bobbsey Twins, The Judy Bolton Detective Series and those mysteries by Enid Blyton starring Freddie Algernon Trottesville (Fatty, for short).

Miss Diaz made me feel special - like we shared between us this golden treasure that no one else had access to in the school. When I begged to add just one more book to the pile, she was amazed and excited. When I brought the books back, she was delighted that I had read them so quickly.

Candy Gourlay is the author of Tall Story and Shine you can find out more by visiting her web-site or following her on twitter @candygourlay

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