Ellie Darkins talks #LoveAtTheLibrary

Ellie Darkins talks #LoveAtTheLibrary

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! 

What my library means to me

Four years ago, I moved to a new house, in a new village and I started a new volunteer role, at the volunteer-run community village library.

The four years I’ve been working at the library have coincided with the most exhilarating, frenzied and exciting period of my life. Since I date-stamped my first book, I have: got engaged, sold my first book, got married, signed two multi-book deals with Harlequin Mills & Boon, bought a house and had a baby. Phew – I did say it was frenzied!

I love being part of this fantastic community, and I love talking books and making recommendations to our borrowers. I’m immensely proud of the work that we’ve done building our collection of books, the way we’ve improved access to online information, and the bonds that we’ve forged with local schools. But, for me, the library is about so much more than information provision. So here are five things that my library means to me:

Solidarity and human contact for a freelancer

When I was working full time as a freelance editor moonlighting as a romance author in the evenings, the library was my weekly human contact time. For four hours a week I was forced to remember the basics of human interaction, such as speaking out loud and remembering people’s names. More importantly still, I was kindly forgiven when I forgot.

Support for my writing career

Since before I sold my first book, the library has been a huge source of inspiration and support. First it was the home of my creative writing group; more recently, as my career has progressed, customers, friends and fellow volunteers have provided thoughtful feedback on my titles, and are always proud to mention to new customers that they have an in-house author.

A place to make friends

I was welcomed with open arms to this warm and generous community, and count myself very lucky to have made many friends among the volunteers, our customers, and beyond. They’ve kept me (just about) sane through four crazy years, and I’m so grateful!

Holding the baby

From a comfy spot to nurse, to numerous pairs of hands to take the baby so that I can drink a hot cup of coffee, visit the bathroom unaccompanied, and advice on sleep, feeding, weaning and walking, I’ve been incredibly lucky. There’s a reason that they say it takes a village.


There’s nothing quite like a customer coming back to tell you they’ve loved a book that you’ve recommended, or the excitement on the kiddies’ faces as they come to borrow a book of their very own. I’ve seen our private library collection grow from a single book to more than three thousand titles; watched toddlers graduate from our Tunes and Tales group, to pre-school, to big school. I’ve stamped books for home-schoolers and I’ve lent customers their first Mills & Boon. But what I’m most proud of is being part of a community that puts its money where its mouth is – to be among a group of people who not only believe that every member of our community deserves to have access to a library, but makes it happen.


Ellie Darkins volunteers at Harbury Village Library  www.harburyvillagelibrary.org.uk. You can find her online at  elliedarkins.com, Facebook: Ellie Darkins Author, Twitter: @elliedarkins