I grew up in a typical small town from the fifties. I wasn’t very good at school work but I always passed each grade. It would be many years later that I would realize that I had a learning disability. Luckily it wasn’t anything to do with reading.
I was a shy young girl that lived a very adventurous life in her head. The teachers would always tell my parents “If she would pay attention and stop her daydreaming she would do so much better.” I didn’t have many friends, just one or two so I had someone to sit with at lunchtime.
I was raised by rather strict parents but I was always aware that they loved me. That allowed me to follow the rules while in their house but as soon as I left I would have the life I wanted.
We didn’t have a library in our small town until I was about ten or eleven years old. What we had was a bookmobile that worked as a library for our town and several of the neighboring towns as well. This did not work well for giving us a lot of books to choose from. We were at the mercy of the librarian. She was, as I recall, a fusty old lady (probably in her forties!) and if she didn’t think you should read something she wouldn’t allow you to take it out. Needless to say, it didn’t do much for my wanting to read.
Once we got our own library I was set. I thought it was fantastic. In fact, when I think back it makes me realize that it was just a little portable building but it was so much better than we had had. My mum was a big reader but mostly she read romances. She would take us four kids to the library every week and as I got a little older I got to go on my own. I could sit in the library and read anything I wanted to.
The first book I choose to read on my own was a biography on a young boy that was accused of killing a teenage girl and sent to prison. He was only fourteen years old and was found guilty of murder in a fifteen-day trial. The book talked of what happened the day the girl was murdered and how this boy was convicted with circumstantial evidence. It spoke of how they were trying for a retrial but up to the point of the publishing of the book it had not been allowed. This murder occurred in Ontario in 1959. I read this book in the summer of 1963. I was eleven years old. I would never have been allowed to read this book if we still had the old book-mobile.
This fired up my imagination and allowed a child to be such a brave person, righting wrongs and doing the right things! That summer in the portable building I began to think of all the things I might do and be.
Libraries have always been places to go to dream and to work and to study. Now I go to work on my writing skills and meet people in my writing group at the local, beautiful library.
My local library also has offered to e-print my novel once I am done editing it (if they like it) and will distribute it to all the local libraries. My book is a murder mystery of course. Who knew the wonders of a library!