With so many books in the house, I didn’t need libraries, right?
In this way I gained the confidence to browse, to trawl the shelves in search of titles and authors I didn’t know, to pick out a book at random and flick the pages to see if I’d like it – to broaden my horizons. And so I found and loved the spellbinding fantasies of Alan Garner and J.R.R. Tolkien, the gentle ghost stories of Lucy Boston, the historical novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jane Lane, Henry Treece and Geoffrey Trease. I found books by Hugh Lofting, Eleanor Farjeon, E Nesbit. I found collections of myths and legends from around the world, by Roger Lancelyn Green and Barbara Leonie Picard.
“Oft have I travelled in the realms of gold,” John Keats says, “And many goodly states and princedoms seen”: and he’s not talking about back-packing in South America, he’s talking about the books he’s read. One small, pink, dog-eared library card was my personal free pass to the golden realms of literature.
You can educate yourself in a public library. I know, because I did it.
Without libraries (and I would have been without many if not most of those books if there had been no libraries) – I personally would never have earned a university degree, and I might not be a professional writer. We need to preserve the network of our public libraries, and we need the expertise of professional librarians to run them. If they are sold off, they will be gone for ever. (You can’t imagine any council suddenly deciding it has the spare cash to buy them back and reopen them, can you?) They are our heritage. And they are our children’s gateway into those realms of gold.
Katherine on Twitter
Katherine's Blog: Seven Miles of Steel Thistles
Don't forget Katherine's book West of the Moon is out on 3 Mar 2011.
An epic and action-packed fantasy adventure that weaves together Norse legends, shadowy creatures and an unforgettable hero
When Peer is orphaned he is taken by his wicked uncles to live at their foreboding mill in the shadow of Troll Fell. Here he meets beautiful and spirited Hilde and after a terrifying encounter with the sinister creatures who live below the fell the pair form an inseparable bond. They are thirsty for adventure, so when a Viking longship docks at their village, they decide to set sail for Vinland – a mysterious place across the perilous sea. But are the ship's captain and his sword wielding son really honest sailors? What creatures lurk in the shadows and forests of the new land? And will Peer and Hilde ever return?
Spanning years and continents and filled with brilliantly imagined characters and creatures, this is gripping, atmospheric fantasy at its best.
Be sure to drop by Wondrous Reads tomorrow for the next stop on Katherines blog tour.