It's National Libraries Week! (And how one very special library became the inspiration behind my latest book)
October 12, 2017
This week is National Libraries Week, and what better way to show your love of libraries than to write a book about them… So I did.
I’ve been quite vocal in the past about my love of libraries. In fact, in April of this year I was invited to write a guest blog post for the lovely Anne Williams. I had recently given a talk in my local library to support the launch of my (then) latest book, Turn Towards The Sun, and had promised Anne a review of that event. When I sat down to write the post however I realised that it was not the story I wanted to tell and it became something else entirely. Anne has very kindly agreed to let me link back to her site, so you can read that original post here.
You see, ever since I was a small child libraries have been a huge part of my life and I’m now very fortunate to work in my local library for a few hours each week. It started as a means to ensure that I got out of the house every once in a while; I had just begun to write full time, and after leaving a full time job where I was surrounded by people I wondered if this might be the answer to prevent my becoming a little madder than usual. But very quickly this wonderful place became something far more than just a job.
Our library is a beautiful place, the building itself (an old school) is a gem and its staffed by the most wonderful people, who fill the space with everything a library should be, and that includes much laughter. Our customers are welcomed by their first names, offered tea and coffee, and go home with so much more than books. As one of our older customers remarked only last week – I’ve just told my husband I’m popping out to see my friends and have a giggle. I’ll feel so much better when I get home. I might even manage to choose some books too!... Because of course, our library is so much more than somewhere to borrow books from, or use the computers, for many it is a lifeline to the world outside. People find inspiration there, or knowledge, the comfort and escape provided by a good book, companionship and care, and happiness and laughter fills the air within the building every single day it is open. It is quite simply, priceless, and we are all forever in its debt.
Sadly, like many community libraries it’s threatened with closure, a fight that has been going on for over three years now. And it will close, one day, and I will be heartbroken. It’s devastating to think that in my lifetime I might see the total demise of libraries, simply because we can quantify how much it costs to pay staff, and heat buildings but the important things, the things that are priceless beyond measure cannot be quantified, and so they cannot be counted. In my very humble opinion there are things in this world that should exist, for no other reason than it is right that they should do so. Libraries are one of them.
Vitally important though this message is, it’s not the only reason that Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found came into being. This is such a special book for me. Those of you who are followers of my blog posts will know that It was written after a very difficult year for me personally, and the fact that this book exists at all is testament to the love and support from my family and friends, but also to the people who provided the inspiration for it; the staff and customers at my local library, who kept me going, providing the laughs, the encouragement, the most amazing conversations, and the endless cups of tea and biscuits. Among them are a few, very special people, who have now joined the list of my most favourite people on the planet and who, I hope, know who they are. This book is also my very special thank you to them.
I’ll be honest, I cried buckets writing this one, but I can’t wait to share it with you, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.