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!
Some of my earliest childhood memories are connected to the library. When I was little I would tag along with my mother and stack up her books into piles so they could be checked out. We spent three years in Papua New Guinea and with no television and limited entertainment on offer, it’s where I learned to read. Madang had a small library and I am sure my mother read every book! When we returned to Australia, I was in grade one and I have a very clear memory of borrowing my very first library book on my own without any input from an adult. It was Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. I adored it.
School holidays always featured the library. Mum and I would go and she would always produce a little black book where she had written down recommendations. During term time, my mother would borrow books on my behalf and I discovered lots of authors and she’d add who I enjoyed into her book and track down other books in the series. As a teenager, I remember loving the Pennington books by K.M. Peyton. I also read a lot of ‘career’ style books during my mid teens. On the long summer holidays when we camped for six weeks, it was Dad who was given the library responsibilities. He’d return on the weekends armed with books to replace the ones we’d devoured. It was on one of those holidays that I read Pride and Prejudice and my love of romance fiction began. My one sad moment of loving libraries was challenged at 16 when I borrowed a Mills & Boon romance during the holidays and the librarian was very dismissive of my choice. I love that today, the romance section of my library is large and clearly and proudly marked with a red heart on the spine. I have a good friend who is a library manager and he tells me that romance fiction is the most borrowed genre at the library.
By the time I had children of my own, libraries had come a long way. They offered story times and arts and crafts and as an Australian living in the USA, the library was not only a place to borrow books but a place to meet other women. I would borrow 30 picture books at a time and a week later, when they’d all been read at least ten times each, we’d return and restock. Today, with almost grown up sons, the library is still a very special place to me although I am not physically inside it that much. I reserve my books online and get an SMS when the book is ready. I use the audiobook app ALL THE TIME and the eBook borrowing app as well. I can borrow movies and Cds. I get the library newsletter, and every month I have the choice of at least five author chats I can attend. Our new multimillion dollar central library offers so much, including board games, video games, access to the internet, newspapers and journals as well as the traditional book. Libraries of the new millennium are information centres.
My love of reading was fed by libraries. Long may they continue.