As part of #LoveAtTheLibrary, we’re asking our authors to share why they love their libraries. Check back over the next few weeks to read their thoughts and remember to follow Mills & Boon to see all the romantic displays! Today we have two historical authors, Eleanor Webster and Elisabeth Hoobs, sharing what their libraries mean to them.
Why I love the library…
The Ancient Greeks called libraries a ‘healing place for the soul’ and as a lonely child I certainly believed this. Without any siblings, books were my most trusted friends. They opened doors to other worlds; magical realms, historical realms, realms of the actual and the illusory. When I discovered libraries, I realized that all that magic, all those portals were housed under one roof – available to all.
As a Canadian in the mental health field, I have been fascinated and impressed by the concept of bibliotherapy, as embraced by the British government. As of June, 2013, British citizens can fill their prescription with books housed at the local library. While this plan focuses on self-help books, it also includes fictional bibliotherapy in many locations. This plan emphasizes the library’s central role in our communities and in individual wellness.The Ancient Greeks called libraries a ‘healing place for the soul’ and as a lonely child I certainly believed this. Without any siblings, books were my most trusted friends. They opened doors to other worlds; magical realms, historical realms, realms of the actual and the illusory. When I discovered libraries, I realized that all that magic, all those portals were housed under one roof – available to all.
For me, the joy of reading and writing about Regency dukes and duchesses, allows me to function and cope with the sadness which can occur in my professional life. I continue to see the library and the wonders it contains as a trusted friend and, even now, when I need a break from my own world, I go there and escape to another place or time.
And I guess those Ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about healing.
Libraries have always played an important role in my life. My mum was a single mother so during the school holidays my sister and I would accompany her to the surgery where she held her clinics. We used to love these days because as well as being allowed to ride up and down on the chair before patients we were trusted to cross the car park to the library so I would spend the morning there reading whatever I could get my hands on (and practicing ballet positions from a book).
As a quiet teenager I took refuge from the bullies at secondary school by volunteering as school librarian. Like so many other children who were trying to hide I discovered the safety and pleasure of disappearing into a book. Without that refuge my already difficult teenage years would have been almost unbearable.
As a new mother living in a town where I knew very few people and had no family, going along to Rhymetime and taking my children to the library for the morning gave me a welcome moment of sanity among the almost crippling postnatal depression. My children still see visiting the library as a huge treat. Both avid readers, they can’t quite believe there is a wonderful pale where they’re allowed to take home as many books as they like.
Since beginning to write for Mills & Boon I knew I needed to be disciplined so I spend my every Tuesday writing in the library. I see the same faces and have my favourite desk (when it was full and I ended up sitting opposite someone who started eating an orange I was scandalised) and get a thrill whenever I see my book on the shelf. There’s a purposeful buzz around the place with people coming in to research family history, get help using the internet and develop IT skills from volunteers and the ever-patient staff, and of course Rhymetime. The strains of Old Macdonald don’t lend themselves to writing romantic scenes but I wouldn’t change a thing.